Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Significant Accounting Policies

Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Feb. 01, 2014
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Significant Accounting Policies
Significant Accounting Policies 
Merchandise and Services Revenue Recognition 
Total net sales, which exclude sales taxes and are net of estimated returns, are recorded at the point of sale when payment is received and the customer takes possession of the merchandise in department stores, at the point of shipment of merchandise ordered through the Internet, or, in the case of services, at the time the customer receives the benefit of the service, such as salon, portrait, optical or custom decorating. Commissions earned on sales generated by licensed departments are included as a component of total net sales. Shipping and handling fees charged to customers are also included in total net sales with corresponding costs recorded as cost of goods sold. We provide for estimated future returns based primarily on historical return rates and sales levels.
Gift Card Revenue Recognition
At the time gift cards are sold, no revenue is recognized; rather, a liability is established for the face amount of the card. The liability remains recorded until the earlier of redemption, escheatment or 60 months. The liability is relieved and revenue is recognized when gift cards are redeemed for merchandise. We escheat a portion of unredeemed gift cards according to Delaware escheatment requirements that govern remittance of the cost of the merchandise portion of unredeemed gift cards over five years old. After reflecting the amount escheated, any remaining liability (referred to as breakage) is relieved and recognized as a reduction of SG&A expenses as an offset to the costs of administering the gift card program. Though our gift cards do not expire, it is our historical experience that the likelihood of redemption after 60 months is remote. The liability for gift cards is recorded in other accounts payable and accrued expenses on the Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Customer Loyalty Program
Customers who spend a certain amount with us using our private label card or registered third party credit cards receive JCP Rewards® certificates, redeemable for goods or services in our stores the following two months. We estimate the net cost of the rewards that will be redeemed and record this as cost of goods sold as rewards points are accumulated. Other administrative costs of the loyalty program are recorded in SG&A expenses as incurred.
Cost of Goods Sold
Cost of goods sold includes all 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 sales via the Internet.
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 and the purchase of vendor specific fixtures. 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 received. 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 charges 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 charges 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 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 $4 million, $2 million and $118 million for 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively, were $919 million, $933 million and $1,039 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. For department stores, regional warehouses and store distribution centers, we value inventories using the retail method. Under the retail method, retail values are converted to a cost basis by applying specific average cost factors to groupings of merchandise. For Internet, we use standard cost, representing average vendor cost, to determine lower of cost or market.
Physical inventories are taken on a staggered basis at least once per year at all store and supply chain locations, inventory records are adjusted to reflect actual inventory counts and any resulting shortage (shrinkage) is recognized. Following inventory counts, shrinkage is estimated as a percent of sales, based on the most recent physical inventory, in combination with current events and historical experience. We have loss prevention programs and policies in place that are intended to mitigate shrinkage.
Property and Equipment, Net
Estimated Useful Lives
($ in millions)




Furniture and equipment


Leasehold improvements


Accumulated depreciation
Property and equipment, net


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. 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 assured.
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 or loss 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 incurred 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.

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. Potential impairment exists if the estimated undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use of the asset plus any net proceeds expected from disposition of the asset are less than the carrying value of the asset. The amount of the impairment loss represents the excess of the carrying value of the asset over its fair value and is included in Real estate and other, net on 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. During the fourth quarter of 2012, we early adopted the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) new guidance on impairment testing of indefinite-lived intangible assets.  Under the new guidance, we have the option to first perform a qualitative assessment in our evaluation of our indefinite-lived intangible assets in order to determine whether the fair value of the indefinite-lived intangible asset is more likely than not impaired.  When a quantitative analysis is performed, 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. Discount rates, royalty rates, growth rates and sales projections are the assumptions most sensitive and susceptible to change as they require significant management judgment.  Discount rates used are similar to the rates estimated by the weighted average cost of capital considering any differences in company-specific risk factors. Royalty rates are established by management based on comparable trademark licensing agreements in the market.  Operational management, considering industry and company-specific historical and projected data, develops growth rates and sales projections associated with each indefinite-lived intangible asset. Terminal value rate determination follows common methodology of capturing the present value of perpetual sales estimates beyond the last projected period assuming a constant weighted average cost of capital and low long-term growth rates.
We use a consistent lease term when calculating amortization of leasehold improvements, determining straight-line rent expense and determining classification of leases as either operating or capital. For purposes of recognizing incentives, premiums, rent holidays and minimum rental expenses on a straight-line basis over the terms of the leases, we use the date of initial possession to begin amortization, which is generally when we take control of the property. Renewal options determined to be reasonably assured are also included in the lease term. Some leases require additional payments based on sales and are recorded in rent expense when the contingent rent is probable.
Some of our lease agreements contain developer/tenant allowances. Upon receipt of such allowances, we record a deferred rent liability in other liabilities on the Consolidated Balance Sheets. The allowances are then amortized on a straight-line basis over the remaining terms of the corresponding leases as a reduction of rent expense.
Exit or Disposal Activity Costs
Costs associated with exit or disposal activities are recorded at their fair values when a liability has been incurred. Reserves for operating leases are established at the time of closure for the present value of any remaining operating lease obligations (PVOL), net of estimated sublease income. 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 either at the point of decision or the communication date, depending on the nature of the item.
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. Other comprehensive income/(loss) is amortized over the average remaining service period, a period of about eight years for the primary plan.
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
We record compensation expense for time-vested awards on a straight-line basis over the associates’ service period, to the earlier of the retirement eligibility date, if the grant contains provisions such that the award becomes fully vested upon retirement, or the stated vesting period (the non-substantive vesting period approach).