JC Penney shares tank on sales decline, outlook slashed


Kamil Krzaczynski | Reuters

A shopper checks on merchandise at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside, Illinois.

J.C. Penney on Thursday reported sales that missed analysts’ expectations, blaming the declines on a cooler start to the spring season. The department store chain also cut its full-year earnings outlook.

Its shares tumbled more than 12 percent, falling below $3 apiece, in premarket trading on the news.

Revenues fell about 4.3 percent to $2.58 billion during the first quarter ended May 5, missing Street estimates for $2.61 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

Same-store sales rose 0.2 percent but this was also short of analysts’ forecast for roughly 2 percent growth.

Penney’s net loss narrowed to $78 million, or 25 cents per share, from $187 million, or 60 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding one-time items, it lost 22 cents a share, 1 cent better than the 23-cent loss analysts were expecting.

The retailer adjusted its full-year earnings-per-share outlook to be between a loss of 7 cents to earnings of 13 cents. That compares with prior guidance of earnings between 5 to 25 cents a share.

CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement: “Although our overall top line sales results came in below our expectations for the quarter, we were encouraged by the strong positive comp performance throughout February and March, as well as the last two weeks of April, when temperatures began to normalize.”

As of Wednesday’s market close, J.C. Penney’s stock has lost more than 30 percent from a year ago.

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