J.C. Penney Rings Up Fourth-Quarter Earnings Beat

Retailer J.C. Penney beats fourth-quarter earnings expectations.
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J.C. Penney (JCP) - Get Report beat Wall Street's fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings expectations on 7.7% lower sales and 7% lower comparable sales.

The Plano, Texas, retailer's shares at last check were up 1.5% at 74 cents.

For the quarter ended Feb. 1 J.C. Penney reported net income of $27 million, or 8 cents per share, down from $75 million, or 24 cents, in the year-earlier period. The latest adjusted profit came to 13 cents a share, bettering the forecast of a loss of 6 cents a share in a survey of analysts by FactSet.

Sales totaled $3.49 billion, down from $3.79 billion but ahead of FactSet's call for $3.38 billion. FactSet had forecast a 7.3% slide in same-store sales.

Selling, general and administrative expense for the quarter was $1.01 billion, or 29.7% of net sales, compared with $1.01 billion, or 27.5%, a year earlier. 

While SG&A dollars were flat with a year earlier, the company said lower advertising and store controllable expenses helped offset higher incentive compensation.

The company expects to close at least six store locations in fiscal 2020. J.C. Penney currently has about 859 stores.

J.C. Penney's guidance for the current fiscal year, which does not include any potential impact from the deadly coronavirus outbreak, calls for comparable-store sales to decline from 3.5% to 4.5%, while FactSet is forecasting a 7.7% drop.

“I am encouraged by our progress, especially in our women’s apparel businesses," Chief Executive Jill Soltau said in statement. 

"We knew it would take time to restore discipline and return growth to J.C. Penney. As we move into fiscal 2020, we remain focused on the key tenets of retail as we continue rebuilding the company and implementing our plan for renewal.”

Separately, Fashion News reported Wednesday that Shawn Gensch, executive vice president and chief customer officer, resigned after nine months on the job.