J.C. Penney Reported a Wider Than Expected Loss

Plano-based J.C. Penney reported a bigger loss than expected on Friday as margins took a hit from liquidation sales. Penney closed 127 stores during the quarter.Total sales increased 1.5 percent to $2.96 billion from $2.92 billion a year ago. Penney posted an adjusted loss of 9 cents a share, on that basis, analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast a loss of 5 cents a share and a sales decline of 2.7 percent to $2.84 billion. Same-store sales were forecast to fall 1.2 percent, but fell a smaller 0.9 percent. Penney's stock price has been trading at historical lows and closed at $4.71 on Thursday, down 45 cents. It was taking a beating in the pre-market, falling below $4.Penney reaffirmed a lowered forecast for 2017 sales to end up 1 percent to down 1 percent from 2016. In May, CEO Marvin Ellison said that forecast included the realization that the company's apparel sales won't increase this year. Women's apparel particularly has been a drag on results. This month it started selling Project Runway branded apparel under a new partnership with the Lifetime reality TV show.In July, Penney unveiled a new loyalty program that leverages its Sephora relationship and makes Penney's rewards more competitive with "Kohl's Cash." Penney is also using the upgraded loyalty program to attract more credit card customers.Having more credit card customers is more important to Penney as it's moved into more high-dollar merchandise, including kitchen and laundry appliances and other home services.About 70 percent of Penney's customers own their homes and Ellison has said he believes Penney has a better chance of increasing sales by catering to homeowners. Penney also said it's using its home business to sell to hotels, vacation rentals and apartment landlords.Twitter: @MariaHalkias  Continue reading...

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