JCPenney first quarter loss widens

JCPenney has followed rival department store operators Macy’s, Kohl’s and Nordstrom in reporting disappointing first quarter sales results.

The embattled retailer lost US$180 million over the three trading months to April 29,  significantly higher than the $68 million of the same quarter a year earlier.

However the JCPenney first quarter loss was anticipated by analysts, with the company earlier flagging $220 million of restructuring costs relating to store closures and an early retirement program.

Sales totalled $2.71 billion, down from $2.8 billion last year, with same-store sales down 3.5 per cent.  

On a more positive note, the homewares, fine jewellery and salon departments delivered positive same-store growth, along with its Sephora concessions, suggesting the company’s market repositioning and restructuring program is beginning to pay off.  

“The real challenge for JCPenney is how to persuade customers visiting Sephora to become loyal JCP shoppers who visit and spend in other areas of the store,” said Neil Saunders, MD of GlobalData Retail.

He believes fashion is the area needing most focus immediately.  

“Despite the enhancements made to-date, the offer is still not compelling enough to drive sales,” he said.



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