JCPenney earnings reports don’t show improvement

While JCPenney isn’t closing stores now, it’s not out of the question.

The department store once again disappointed Wall Street with same-store sales dropping 5.4 percent last quarter and net sales decreasing 5.8 percent, according to a company statement. The company also lost more than $150 million, sending its stock price down 12 percent when the markets opened.

“While restoring JCPenney to sustained profitable growth will be a lengthy process, I understand the need for quick action. My commitment is that we will make sound, strategic decisions backed by data, and will always be rooted in delivering on our customers’ wants and expectations…While these things take time, the results we are reporting today only strengthen our sense of urgency and purpose,” said Jill Soltau, CEO of JCPenney for about one month.

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The company said Thursday morning that evaluating real estate is an “ongoing process.”

“We’ve closed roughly 20 percent of our locations over the last handful of years, including 140 last year,” said Trent Kruse, head of JCPenney investor relations.

The company will evaluate real estate-related options into the end of the year to determine how to move forward, Kruse said, but for now JCPenney leadership sees the real estate as manageable.

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Especially stores with real estate near closed Bon-Ton stores are doing better than the general portfolio, capitalizing on the bankrupt retailers shuttering. Moving into the holidays, JCPenney also upped its toy selection 20 percent, a move several retailers made to position themselves as the toy destination after Toys “R” Us shut its doors.

“We are focusing our efforts on executing well this holiday season,” Soltau said.

JCPenney has struggled to return to profitability among shifting consumer shopping habits. Other major anchors at local malls, including Sears and Elder-Beerman, have filed for bankruptcy and closed hundreds of stores.


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