JCPenney Reports Second Quarter 2019 Financial Results

Cost of Goods Sold Rate Improved 310 Basis Points; Inventory Reduced 12.5 % From Prior Year

Company Provides Full Year 2019 Financial Guidance; Reaffirms Prior Expectations of Positive Annual Free Cash Flow

PLANO, Texas – (Aug. 15, 2019) – J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) today announced financial results for its fiscal second quarter ended Aug. 3, 2019. Net loss for the quarter was $48 million or ($0.15) per share. Comparable sales decreased 9.0 % for the quarter. Excluding the impact of the Company’s exit from major appliance and in-store furniture categories, comparable sales decreased 6.0 % for the quarter. Cost of goods sold for the quarter was 63.2 % of sales, a decrease of 310 basis points compared to the same period last year. Inventory at the end of the second quarter was $2.47 billion, down 12.5 % compared to the end of the second quarter last year.

“I am pleased with the results we delivered this quarter and the progress we are making against our plan. While we still have work to do on our topline, I strongly believe that growing sales in an unprofitable way is simply not an option. The only way I know how to reconstruct a business, is through a holistic approach across all the key tenets of strategic, purposeful and effective retailing. Notably this quarter, the meaningful improvement we delivered in cost of goods sold was driven by lower permanent markdowns, improved shrink results, increased store and online selling margins and the exit of major appliance and in-store furniture categories. Additionally, we reduced inventory by 12.5 % as we continue to reinstate the discipline required to improve inventory management and productivity. Delivering on our customers’ expectations relies heavily on our vendors and the portfolio of brands we offer. The ongoing dialogues and interactions we are having with our vendors are strong and positive – they are equally excited about our direction and are bringing new ideas and innovating with us,” said Jill Soltau, chief executive officer of JCPenney.

“Today we will begin sharing more insights from where we have been as a company and the holistic approach we are taking to reposition JCPenney to its rightful place in the retail landscape. We have attracted top talent in the industry and each of these passionate leaders made a choice to come to JCPenney at a pivotal time. Together, we are laser-focused on two parallel paths. One is building a framework to reestablish the practices needed to strengthen the day to day operations of our business. Concurrently, we are developing differentiating, transformational initiatives. The journey we are on will restore health back into our company. It is an ongoing process and the proposition we are implementing is for the long-term. We are not simply running a business – we are rebuilding a business. We are making a difference and today, I feel more confident than ever that we will reinvigorate and rejuvenate this great company to sustainable, profitable growth. I will continue providing updates as we move through our business plan and finalize a more comprehensive, long-term strategy for JCPenney,” Soltau added.

For the quarter ended Aug. 3, 2019, total net sales decreased 9.2 % to $2.51 billion compared to $2.76 billion for the quarter ended Aug. 4, 2018. Comparable sales decreased 9.0 % for the quarter. Excluding the impact of the Company’s exit from major appliance and in-store furniture categories, comparable sales decreased 6.0 % for the quarter. Credit income was $110 million for the second quarter this year compared to $67 million in the second quarter last year.

Cost of goods sold, which excludes depreciation and amortization, was $1.59 billion, or 63.2 % of sales, in the second quarter this year compared to $1.83 billion, or 66.3 % of sales in the same period last year. The 310-basis point decrease as a rate of sales was primarily driven by lower permanent markdowns, improved shrink rates as a rate of net sales, improvements in both store and online selling margins, and the exit from the major appliance and in-store furniture categories earlier this year.

SG&A expenses for the second quarter were $870 million, or 34.7 % of net sales this year compared to $880 million, or 31.9 % of net sales, last year. The decrease in SG&A dollars this year was primarily due to lower store controllable expenses and advertising, which were offset by slightly higher incentive compensation. Last year, the Company recorded a $7 million benefit in SG&A expenses in the second quarter related to the buyout of a store leasehold interest. Additionally, in connection with the adoption of the new Lease Accounting Standard at the beginning of fiscal 2019, SG&A expenses in the second quarter this year included approximately $5 million related to the Company’s home office lease. Last year, the home office lease related expense was recorded as depreciation and amortization and interest expense.

For the second quarter, the Company’s net loss was $48 million, or ($0.15) per share, compared to a net loss of $101 million, or ($0.32) per share in the same period last year.

Adjusted net loss was $56 million, or ($0.18) per share, compared to an adjusted net loss of $120 million, or ($0.38) per share, last year.

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the second quarter were $175 million. Free cash flow was ($133) million for the first six months this year, an improvement of $102 million compared to the same period last year.

Inventory at the end of the second quarter was $2.47 billion, down 12.5 % compared to the end of the second quarter last year.

The Company ended the second quarter with liquidity of approximately $1.7 billion, and no outstanding borrowings under its revolving credit facility. The Company expects liquidity to be at least $1.5 billion for the remainder of the year.

A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial measures is included in the schedules accompanying the consolidated financial statements in this release.

The Company is reaffirming its expectation of positive free cash flow1 for full year 2019. In addition, the Company has provided financial guidance for full year fiscal 2019 as follows:

  • Comparable sales: expected to be in a range of (7.0) % to (8.0) %;
  • Comparable sales, excluding the impact of the Company’s exit from major appliances and in-store furniture categories1: expected to be in a range of (5.0) % to (6.0) %;
  • Cost of goods sold, as a rate of net sales: expected to decrease 150 to 200 basis points compared to last year; and
  • Adjusted EBITDA1: expected to be in a range of $440 million to $475 million.

1 A reconciliation of non-GAAP forward-looking projections to GAAP financial measures is not available as the nature or amount of potential adjustments, which may be significant, cannot be determined now.

2019 Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call Details
At 8:30 a.m. ET today, the Company will host a live conference call conducted by Chief Executive Officer Jill Soltau and Chief Financial Officer Bill Wafford. Management will discuss the Company’s performance during the quarter and take questions from participants. To access the conference call, please dial (844) 243-9275, or (225) 283-0394 for international callers, and reference 5147029 conference ID or visit the Company’s investor relations website at Supplemental slides will be available on the Company’s investor relations website approximately 10 minutes before the start of the conference call.

Telephone playback will be available for seven days beginning approximately two hours after the conclusion of the conference call by dialing (855) 859-2056, or (404) 537-3406 for international callers, and referencing 5147029 conference ID.

Investors and others should note that we currently announce material information using SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls and webcasts. In the future, we will continue to use these channels to distribute material information about the Company and may also utilize our website and/or various social media to communicate important information about the Company, key personnel, new brands and services, trends, new marketing campaigns, corporate initiatives and other matters. Information that we post on our website or on social media channels could be deemed material; therefore, we encourage investors, the media, our customers, business partners and others interested in our Company to review the information we post on our website as well as the following social media channels:

Facebook ( and Twitter (

Any updates to the list of social media channels we may use to communicate material information will be posted on the Investor Relations page of the Company’s website at

Media Relations:
(972) 431-3400 or; Follow us @jcpnews

Investor Relations:
(972) 431-5500 or

About JCPenney:
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP), one of the nation’s largest apparel and home retailers, combines an expansive footprint of approximately 850 stores across the United States and Puerto Rico with a powerful e-commerce site,, to deliver style and value for all hard-working American families. At every touchpoint, customers will discover stylish merchandise at incredible value from an extensive portfolio of private, exclusive and national brands. Reinforcing this shopping experience is the customer service and warrior spirit of approximately 95,000 associates across the globe, all driving toward the Company’s mission to help customers find what they love for less time, money and effort. For additional information, please visit

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “expect” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which include, but are not limited to, statements regarding sales, cost of goods sold, selling, general and administrative expenses, earnings and cash flows. Forward-looking statements are based only on the Company’s current assumptions and views of future events and financial performance. They are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of the Company’s control that may cause the Company’s actual results to be materially different from planned or expected results. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, general economic conditions, including inflation, recession, unemployment levels, consumer confidence and spending patterns, credit availability and debt levels, changes in store traffic trends, the cost of goods, more stringent or costly payment terms and/or the decision by a significant number of vendors not to sell us merchandise on a timely basis or at all, trade restrictions, the ability to monetize assets on acceptable terms, the ability to implement our strategic plan including our omnichannel initiatives, customer acceptance of our strategies, our ability to attract, motivate and retain key executives and other associates, the impact of cost reduction initiatives, our ability to generate or maintain liquidity, implementation of new systems and platforms, changes in tariff, freight and shipping rates, changes in the cost of fuel and other energy and transportation costs, disruptions and congestion at ports through which we import goods, increases in wage and benefit costs, competition and retail industry consolidations, interest rate fluctuations, dollar and other currency valuations, the impact of weather conditions, risks associated with war, an act of terrorism or pandemic, the ability of the federal government to fund and conduct its operations, a systems failure and/or security breach that results in the theft, transfer or unauthorized disclosure of customer, employee or Company information, legal and regulatory proceedings, and the Company’s ability to access the debt or equity markets on favorable terms or at all. There can be no assurances that the Company will achieve expected results, and actual results may be materially less than expectations. Please refer to the Company’s most recent Form 10-K for a further discussion of risks and uncertainties. Investors should take such risks into account and should not rely on forward-looking statements when making investment decisions. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this press release is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. We do not undertake to update these forward-looking statements as of any future date.


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