The Plano,Texas-based department chain reported net sales of $4.03 billion vs. the expected $4.05 billion, per Factset. It beat the earnings forecast, however, reporting 57 cents in earnings per share compared with 47 cents. Same-store sales also increased by 2.6%.
In addition, Penney announced Friday that it was cutting about 230 support and store associate positions in restructuring efforts.
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The strongest categories in the fourth quarter were jewelry, home, shoes, handbags and its Sephora partnership, the company noted. Online sales and appliances also saw growth.
"During the fourth quarter, we delivered our strongest positive sales comps and achieved our largest gross margin improvement for the year," CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement. He added that this year, the company will strive to further gain market share in appliances, mattresses and home, "while continuing to take steps to modernize our apparel assortment and omnichannel."
In the full fiscal year, J.C. Penney reported net sales decrease of 0.3%, to $12.51 billion, while same-store sales hovered just above flat, at 0.1%. In 2018, the department store expects comparable sales to be flat or grow up to 2%.
Last month, Penney announced a new teen-focused private label line called Obsess. It also quietly announce eight additional store closures, after shuttering about 140 stores in 2017.