Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Significant Accounting Policies

Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Feb. 01, 2020
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Significant Accounting Policies Significant Accounting Policies
Our contracts with customers primarily consist of sales of merchandise and services at the point of sale, sales of gift cards to a customer for a future purchase, customer loyalty rewards that provide discount rewards to customers based on purchase activity, and certain licensing and profit sharing arrangements involving the use of our intellectual property by others. Revenue includes Total net sales and Credit income and other. Net sales are categorized by merchandise and service sale groupings as we believe it best depicts the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flow.
Credit income and other encompasses the revenue earned from the agreement with Synchrony Financial (Synchrony) associated with our private label credit card and co-branded MasterCard® programs.
Merchandise and Service Sales
Total net sales, which exclude sales taxes, are generally recorded when payment is received and the customer takes control of the merchandise. Service revenue is recorded at the time the customer receives the benefit of the service, such as salon, portrait, optical or custom decorating. Shipping and handling fees charged to customers are also included in total net sales with corresponding costs recorded as cost of goods sold. Net sales are not recognized for estimated future returns which are estimated based primarily on historical return rates and sales levels.

Gift Card Revenue
At the time gift cards are sold a performance obligation is created and no revenue is recognized; rather, a contract liability is established for our obligation to provide a merchandise or service sale to the customer for the face value of the card. The contract liability is relieved and a net sale is recognized when gift cards are redeemed for merchandise or services. We recognize gift card breakage, net of required escheatment, over the redemption pattern of gift cards. Breakage is estimated based on historical redemption patterns and the estimates can vary based on changes in the usage patterns of our customers.

Customer Loyalty Rewards
Customers who spend a certain amount with us using our private label card or registered loyalty card receive points that can accumulate towards earning JCPenney Rewards certificates, which are redeemable for a discount on future purchases. Points earned by a loyalty customer do not expire but any certificates earned expire two months from the date of issuance. We account for our customer loyalty rewards by deferring a portion of our sales to loyalty points expected to be earned towards a reward certificate, and then recognize the reward certificate as a net sale when used by the customer in connection with a merchandise or service sale. The points earned toward a future reward are valued at their relative standalone selling price by applying fair value based on historical redemption patterns.
Licensing Agreements
Our private label credit card and co-branded MasterCard® programs are owned and serviced by Synchrony.  Under our agreement, we receive periodic cash payments from Synchrony based upon the consumer's usage of co-branded card and the performance of the credit card portfolio. We participate in the programs by providing marketing promotions designed to increase the use of each card, including enhanced marketing offers for cardholders. Additionally, we accept payments in our stores from cardholders who prefer to pay in person when they are shopping in our locations. Revenue related to this agreement is recognized over the time we have fulfilled our deliverables and is reflected in Credit income and other.

Principal Versus Agent
We assess principal versus agent considerations depending on our control of the good or service before it is transferred to the customer. When we are the principal and have control of the specified good or service, we include as a net sale the gross amount of consideration to which we expect to be entitled for that specified good or service in revenue. In contrast, when we are the agent and do not have control of the specified good or service, we include as a net sale the fee or commission to which we expect to be entitled for the agency service. In certain instances, the fee or commission might be the net amount retained after paying the supplier.

Cost of Goods Sold (Exclusive of Depreciation and Amortization)
Cost of goods sold includes costs directly related to bringing merchandise to its final selling destination. These costs include the cost of the merchandise (net of discounts or allowances earned), sourcing and procurement costs, buying and brand development costs, including buyers’ salaries and related expenses, royalties and design fees, freight costs, warehouse operating expenses, merchandise examination, inspection and testing, store merchandise distribution center expenses, including rent, and shipping and handling costs incurred on eCommerce sales.
Vendor Allowances
We receive vendor support in the form of cash payments or allowances for a variety of reimbursements such as cooperative advertising, markdowns, vendor shipping and packaging compliance, defective merchandise, the purchase of vendor specific fixtures and other vendor contributions. We have agreements in place with each vendor setting forth the specific conditions for each allowance or payment. Depending on the arrangement, we either recognize the allowance as a reduction of current costs or defer the payment over the period the related merchandise is sold. If the payment is a reimbursement for costs incurred, it is generally offset against those related costs; otherwise, it is treated as a reduction to the cost of merchandise.
Markdown reimbursements related to merchandise that has been sold are negotiated and documented by our buying teams and are credited directly to cost of goods sold in the period an agreement has been reached. Vendor allowances received prior to merchandise being sold are deferred and recognized as a reduction of inventory and credited to cost of goods sold based on an inventory turnover rate.
Vendor compliance credits reimburse us for incremental merchandise handling expenses incurred due to a vendor’s failure to comply with our established shipping or merchandise preparation requirements. Vendor compliance credits are recorded as a reduction of merchandise handling costs.
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
SG&A expenses include the following costs, except as related to merchandise buying, sourcing, warehousing or distribution activities: salaries, marketing costs, occupancy and rent expense, utilities and maintenance, pre-opening expenses, costs related to information technology, administrative costs related to our home office and district and regional operations, real and personal property and other taxes (excluding income taxes) and credit/debit card fees.
Advertising costs, which include newspaper, television, Internet search marketing, radio and other media advertising, are expensed either as incurred or the first time the advertisement occurs.  For cooperative advertising programs offered by national brands that require proof of advertising to be provided to the vendor to support the reimbursement of the incurred cost, we offset the allowances against the related advertising expense.  Programs that do not require proof of advertising are monitored to ensure that the allowance provided by each vendor is a reimbursement of costs incurred to advertise for that particular vendor’s label.  Total advertising costs, net of cooperative advertising vendor reimbursements of $20 million, $26 million and $27 million for 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively, were $624 million, $698 million and $714 million, respectively.
Income Taxes
We account for income taxes using the asset and liability method. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases and operating loss and tax credit carryforwards. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date. A valuation allowance is recorded to reduce the carrying amounts of deferred tax assets unless it is more likely than not such assets will be realized. We recognize accrued interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax expense in our Consolidated Statements of Operations. 

Earnings/(Loss) per Share
Basic earnings/(loss) per share (EPS) is computed by dividing net income/(loss) by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted EPS is computed by dividing net income/(loss) by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the period plus the number of additional common shares that would have been outstanding if the potentially dilutive shares had been issued. Potentially dilutive shares include stock options, unvested restricted stock units and awards and a warrant outstanding during the period, using the treasury stock method. Potentially dilutive shares are excluded from the computations of diluted EPS if their effect would be anti-dilutive.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents include cash short-term investments that are highly liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less. Cash short-term investments consist primarily of short-term U.S. Treasury money market funds and a portfolio of highly rated bank deposits and are stated at cost, which approximates fair market value due to the short-term maturity. Cash in banks and in transit also include credit card sales transactions that are settled early in the following period.
Merchandise Inventory
Inventories are valued at the lower of cost (using the first-in, first-out or “FIFO” method) or market using the retail method (RIM). Under RIM, retail values of merchandise groups are converted to a cost basis by applying the specific average cost-to-retail ratio related to each merchandise grouping.

In 2017, we changed our method of accounting for merchandise inventories for our eCommerce operations from the lower of standard cost (representing average vendor costs) or net realizable value to the lower of cost or market using RIM. Along with this change, we retired certain legacy systems and implemented a new module of our enterprise resource planning system to account for merchandise inventories.

Shrinkage accruals are estimated as a percent of sales for a given period based on physical inventory counts or cycle count activities. Physical inventory counts for stores are taken at least annually and cycle count activities for distribution centers and regional warehouses are executed on a daily basis. Inventory records and shrinkage accruals are adjusted based on the actual results from physical inventories and cycle counts. The shrinkage rate from the most recent physical inventory and cycle count
activity, in combination with current events and historical experience, is used as the standard for the shrinkage accrual rate for the next inventory cycle or cycle count activity. Historically, our actual physical inventory and cycle counts results have shown our estimates to be reliable.
Property and Equipment, Net
Estimated Useful Lives
($ in millions)




Furniture and equipment


Leasehold improvements (1)


Finance leases (equipment)


Accumulated depreciation
Property and equipment, net


Leasehold improvements are depreciated over the shorter of the estimated useful lives of the improvements or the term of the lease, including renewals determined to be reasonably certain.

Property and equipment is stated at cost less accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is computed primarily by using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the related assets.
We expense routine maintenance and repairs when incurred. We capitalize major replacements and improvements. We remove the cost of assets sold or retired and the related accumulated depreciation or amortization from the accounts and include any resulting gain, loss or impairment in net income/(loss).
We recognize a liability for the fair value of our conditional asset retirement obligations, which are primarily related to asbestos removal, when probable and if the liability’s fair value can be reasonably estimated.
Capitalized Software Costs
We capitalize costs associated with the acquisition or development of major software for internal use in other assets in our Consolidated Balance Sheets and amortize the asset over the expected useful life of the software, generally between three and seven years. We only capitalize subsequent additions, modifications or upgrades to internal-use software to the extent that such changes allow the software to perform a task it previously did not perform. We expense software maintenance and training costs as incurred.

Cloud computing arrangements are evaluated to determine whether the arrangement includes a software license or is a service contract. If determined to be a software license, then the arrangement is capitalized as an other asset and amortized over the expected life of software, generally between three to seven years. If determined to be a service contract, then the cost of the arrangement is expensed as the services are provided.

Impairment of Long-Lived and Indefinite-Lived Assets
We evaluate long-lived assets such as store property and equipment and other corporate assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of those assets may not be recoverable. Factors considered important that could trigger an impairment review include, but are not limited to, significant underperformance relative to historical or projected future operating results and significant changes in the manner of use of the assets or our overall business strategies. Assets or asset groups that trigger an impairment review are tested for recoverability by comparing the estimated undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use of the asset plus any net proceeds expected from disposition of the asset to the carrying value of the asset. If the asset or asset group is not recoverable on a undiscounted cash flow basis, the amount of the impairment loss is measured by comparing the carrying value of the asset or asset group to its fair value and depending on the transaction any loss is included in Restructuring and management transition or Real estate and other, net in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. We estimate fair value based on either a projected discounted cash flow method using a discount rate that is considered commensurate with the risk inherent in our current business model or appraised value, as appropriate. We also take other factors into consideration in estimating the fair value of our stores, such as local market conditions, operating environment, mall performance and other trends.
We assess the recoverability of indefinite-lived intangible assets at least annually during the fourth quarter of our fiscal year or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the indefinite-lived intangible asset may not be fully recoverable. Examples of a change in events or circumstances include, but are not limited to, a decrease in the market price of the asset, a history of cash flow losses related to the use of the asset or a significant adverse change in the extent or manner in which an asset is being used. We test our indefinite-lived intangible assets utilizing the relief from royalty method to determine the estimated fair value for each indefinite-lived intangible asset. The relief from royalty method estimates our theoretical royalty savings from ownership of the intangible asset. Key assumptions used in this model include discount rates, royalty rates, growth rates, sales projections and terminal value rates.
Accounting Policy Applied in Fiscal 2019
At the lease commencement date, based on certain criteria, we determine if a lease is classified as an operating lease or finance lease and then recognize a right-of-use asset and a lease liability on the Consolidated Balance Sheets for all leases (with the exception of leases that have a term of twelve months or less). The lease liability is measured as the present value of unpaid lease payments measured based on the reasonably certain lease term and corresponding discount rate. The initial right-of-use asset is measured as the lease liability plus certain other costs and is reduced by any tenant allowances collected from the lessor.
Lease payments include fixed and in-substance fixed payments, variable payments based on an index or rate and termination penalties. Lease payments do not include variable lease components other than those that depend on an index or rate or any payments not considered part of the lease (i.e. payment of the lessor’s real estate taxes and insurance). Payments not considered lease payments are expensed as incurred. Some leases require additional payments based on sales and the related contingent rent is recorded as rent expense when the payment is probable. As a policy election, we consider lease payments and all related other payments as one component of a lease.
The reasonably certain lease term includes the non-cancelable lease term and any renewal option periods where we have economically compelling reasons for future exercise.
The discount rate used in our present value calculations is the rate implicit in the lease, when known, or our estimated incremental borrowing rate. Our incremental borrowing rate is estimated based on our secured borrowings and our credit risk relative to the time horizons of other publicly available data points that are consistent with the respective lease term.
Whether an operating lease or a finance lease, the lease liability is amortized over the lease term at a constant periodic interest rate. The right-of-use assets related to operating leases are amortized over the lease term on a basis that renders a straight-line amount of rent expense which encompasses the amortization and interest component of the lease. With the occurrence of certain events, the amortization pattern for an operating asset is adjusted to a straight-line basis over the remaining lease term. The right-of-use asset related to a finance lease is amortized on a straight-line basis over the lease term. Rent on short-term leases is expensed on a straight-line basis over the lease term. When a lease is modified or there is a change in lease term, we assess for any change in lease classification and remeasure the lease liability with a corresponding increase or decrease to the right-of-use asset.
Sale-leasebacks are transactions through which we sell assets and subsequently lease them back. The resulting leases that qualify for sale-leaseback accounting are evaluated and accounted for as an operating lease. A transaction that does not qualify for sale-leaseback accounting as a result of finance lease classification or the failure to meet certain revenue recognition criteria is accounted for as a financing transaction. For a financing transaction, we retain the "sold" assets within property and equipment and record a financing obligation equal to the amount of cash proceeds received. Rental payments under such transactions are recognized as a reduction of the financing obligation and as interest expense using an effective interest method.
Accounting Policy Applied in Fiscal 2018
Our lease accounting policies for lease contracts in fiscal 2018 and prior are disclosed in the 2018 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Exit or Disposal Activity Costs
Costs associated with exit or disposal activities are recorded at their fair values when a liability has been incurred. Severance is recorded over the service period required to be rendered in order to receive the termination benefits or, if employees will not be retained to render future service, a reserve is established when communication has occurred to the affected employees. Other exit costs are accrued when incurred. 

Retirement-Related Benefits
We recognize the funded status – the difference between the fair value of plan assets and the plan’s benefit obligation – of our defined benefit pension and postretirement plans directly on the Consolidated Balance Sheet. Each overfunded plan is recognized as an asset and each underfunded plan is recognized as a liability. We adjust other comprehensive income/(loss) to reflect prior service cost or credits and actuarial gain or loss amounts arising during the period and reclassification adjustments for amounts being recognized as components of net periodic pension/postretirement cost, net of tax. Prior service cost or credits are amortized to net income/(loss) over the average remaining service period, a period of about eight years for the primary plan. Pension related actuarial gains or losses in excess of 10% of the greater of the fair value of plan assets or the plan's projected benefit obligation (the corridor) are recognized annually in the fourth quarter each year (Mark-to-market (MTM) adjustment), and, if applicable, in any interim period in which an interim remeasurement is triggered.
We measure the plan assets and obligations annually at the adopted measurement date of January 31 to determine pension expense for the subsequent year. The factors and assumptions affecting the measurement are the characteristics of the population and salary increases, with the most important being the expected return on plan assets and the discount rate for the pension obligation. We use actuarial calculations for the assumptions, which require significant judgment.
Stock-Based Compensation
Stock options are valued primarily using the Black-Scholes option pricing model and are granted with an exercise price equal to the closing price of our common stock on the grant date. Time-based and performance-based restricted stock awards are valued using the closing price of our common stock on the grant date. Our current plan does not permit awarding stock options below grant-date market value nor does it allow any repricing subsequent to the date of grant.

Stock options are valued using the following assumptions:

Valuation Method. We estimate the fair value of stock option awards on the date of grant using primarily the Black-Scholes option pricing model.

Expected Term. Our expected option term represents the average period that we expect stock options to be outstanding and is determined based on our historical experience, giving consideration to contractual terms, vesting schedules, anticipated stock prices and expected future behavior of option holders.

Expected Volatility. Our expected volatility is based on a blend of the historical volatility of JCPenney stock combined with an estimate of the implied volatility derived from exchange traded options.

Risk-Free Interest Rate. Our risk-free interest rate is based on zero-coupon U.S. Treasury yields in effect at the date of grant with the same period as the expected option life.

Expected Dividend Yield. The dividend assumption is based on our current expectations about our dividend policy.

Employee stock options and time-based and performance-based restricted stock awards typically vest over periods ranging from one to three years and employee stock options have a maximum term of 10 years. Estimates of forfeitures are incorporated at the grant date and are adjusted if actual results are different from initial estimates. For awards that have performance conditions, the probability of achieving the performance condition is evaluated each reporting period, and if the performance condition is expected to be achieved, the related compensation expense is recorded over the remaining service period. In addition, certain performance-based restricted stock awards may be granted where the number of shares may be increased to the maximum or reduced to the minimum threshold based on the results of the performance metrics in accordance with the terms established at the time of the award. In the event that performance conditions are not achieved and the awards do not vest, compensation expense is reversed.

Awards with graded vesting that only have a time vesting requirement and awards that vest entirely at the end of the vesting requirement are expensed on a straight-line basis for the entire award. Expense for awards with graded vesting that incorporate a market or performance requirement is attributed separately based on the vesting for each tranche.