J.C. Penney Profit Sinks 51% in Q4

New York City J.C. Penney Co. reported a 51% drop in fourth-quarter profit on Friday as customers continued to cut spending on clothing and other more discretionary items.

The company said it earned $211 million for the three months ended Jan. 31, compared with $430 million a year earlier.

Sales dropped almost 10% to $5.76 billion from $6.39 billion. Same-store sales fell 10.8%.

As of Jan. 31, J.C. Penney said it had cash and cash equivalents of $2.4 billion and long-term debt of $3.5 billion. Merchandise inventories totaled $3.3 billion and were about 13.5% lower than last year on a same-store sales basis. Capital expenditures were approximately $970 million in 2008, moderately lower than the company's $1 billion plan.

The company also said on Friday that it has decided not to hold its annual analysts' meeting in Plano, Texas, because of many firms' constrained travel budgets. Instead, it will hold the meeting in New York City on April 22.

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