FINANCE

J.C. Penney had a happy holiday

BY Marianne Wilson

J.C. Penney reported surprisingly robust — and much better than expected — sales for the just-passed holiday season.

The department store chain on Thursday reported a 3.4% same-store sales increase for the nine weeks ending Dec. 30, 2017, and reaffirmed its full-year guidance. Analysts had expected same-store sales growth of 0.8%.

“After an extended period of weaker performance and downgraded expectations, these holiday results come as something of a relief and should help to ease fears that JCP is in terminal decline,” commented Anthony Riva, analyst at GlobalData Retail. “While the uplift came off the back of a soft 0.8% drop in sales last year, the fact that there has been growth across the categories JCP has been improving is a justification of the strategies Marvin Ellison and his team have been pursuing.”

Penney said its holiday sales were led by home, beauty and fine jewelry, while its apparel categories continued to demonstrate improved comp performance, particularly in women’s and kids. Its e-commerce business saw double-digit sales growth, largely driven by gifting categories such as fine jewelry, home decor and luggage, toys, boots and athletic footwear.

“Our ability to execute e-commerce fulfillment from 100% of our brick and mortar stores helped fuel the growth in e-commerce for the holiday season,” said Penney chairman and CEO Marvin R. Ellison. “We remain confident that our strategic initiatives are taking hold and resonating with customers.”

Penney reaffirmed its previous guidance for full-year fiscal 2017 adjusted earnings per share of 2 cents to 8 cents and flat to a 1% same-store sales decline.

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