JCPenney Reports a 1.7 Percent Increase in Comparable Sales for the Third Quarter 2017

Inventory Declines 8.8 % Over the Same Period Last Year

PLANO, Texas – (Nov. 10, 2017) – J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) today announced financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 28, 2017. Total net sales decreased (1.8) % to $2.81 billion in the third quarter compared to $2.86 billion in the same period last year, primarily the result of the 139 stores closed this year through the end of the third quarter. Comparable sales increased 1.7 % for the third quarter, resulting in a positive two-year stack of 0.9 %.

Marvin R. Ellison, chairman and chief executive officer said, “During the third quarter, we took aggressive actions to clear slow-moving inventory, primarily allowing for an improved apparel assortment heading in to the Holiday season. While these actions had a negative short-term impact on profitability in the third quarter, we firmly believe it was the right decision for the Company as we transition into the fourth quarter and fiscal 2018.”

Ellison continued, “We are encouraged that we delivered positive sales comps for the third quarter. Our growth strategies and new apparel initiatives led to sequential comp sales improvement in nearly all merchandise categories in the third quarter, giving us confidence that our overall strategy and transformation is beginning to take hold. While we have more work to do, we remain focused on two critical factors - to operate the business for growth and deliver positive earnings. We’re committed to making the right strategic decisions to ensure we are providing our customers more reasons to shop and experience JCPenney.”

Home, Sephora, Footwear and Handbags, Women’s Specialty and Salon were the Company’s top performing divisions during the quarter. Geographically, the Gulf Coast and Midwest were the best performing regions of the country.

For the third quarter, cost of goods sold, which excludes depreciation and amortization, was $1.85 billion, or 66.0 % of sales, compared to $1.80 billion, or 62.8 % of sales in the same period last year. This increase was primarily driven by the liquidation of slow-moving inventory, higher shrink rates and the continued growth in the Company’s online and major appliance businesses.

SG&A expenses for the quarter declined $48 million to $840 million, or 29.9 % of sales, and decreased 120 basis points as a percentage of sales compared to the same period last year. These savings were primarily driven by reductions in store controllable costs, marketing efficiencies and corporate overhead.

For the third quarter, the Company’s net loss was ($128) million, or ($0.41) per share, compared to a net loss of ($67) million, or ($0.22) per share in the same period last year. This reduction was driven in large part by increased cost of goods sold, restructuring charges associated with the store closures and a charge related to settlement accounting on the Company’s pension plan.

Adjusted net loss was ($102) million, or ($0.33) per share, for the third quarter this year compared to an adjusted net loss of ($65) million, or ($0.21) per share, last year.

Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter was $108 million compared to $174 million last year.

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

Inventory at the end of the third quarter 2017 was $3.37 billion, a decrease of 8.8 % compared to the end of the third quarter last year, and down 5.7% on a comp store basis.

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the third quarter were $185 million. The Company ended the quarter with liquidity of approximately $2.0 billion.

The Company’s fiscal 2017 full year guidance is as follows:

  • Comparable store sales: expected to be -1.0 % to 0.0 %;
  • Cost of goods sold: expected to be up 100 to 120 basis points versus 2016;
  • SG&A dollars: expected to be down 1.0 to 2.0 % versus 2016;
  • Adjusted earnings per share1: expected to be $0.02 to $0.08; and
  • Free cash flow: expected to be $200 million to $300 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 at this time.

Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call Details

At 8:30 a.m. ET today, the Company will host a live conference call conducted by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marvin R. Ellison and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Davis. 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 3996839 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 3996839 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 furnishings retailers, combines an expansive footprint of approximately 875 stores across the United States and Puerto Rico with a powerful e-commerce site,, to connect with shoppers how, when and where they prefer to shop. At every customer touchpoint, she will get her Penney’s worth of a broad assortment of products from an extensive portfolio of private, exclusive and national brands. Powering this shopping experience is the customer service and warrior spirit of over 100,000 associates across the globe, all driving toward the Company’s three strategic priorities of strengthening private brands, becoming a world-class omnichannel retailer and increasing revenue per customer. 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, gross margin, 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 Companys 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 non-core 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 including EMV chip technology, 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 Companys 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-Q 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.