J.C. Penney's Credit Rating Lowered as Headwinds Include a Weaker Economy, Says S&P

J.C. Penney's turnaround efforts are coming up against some strong headwinds in 2019, which S&P Global Ratings said Wednesday includes slower U.S. economic growth. S&P lowered its credit rating for Penney with a negative outlook even though the firm said Penney's liquidity is adequate, its "persistently negative operating trends" continued in the fourth quarter.And the retail landscape will only get more competitive, S&P said. Penney's "competitive standing has continued to weaken materially," S&P said, and it called out "prior poor inventory management, underinvestment in omni-channel capabilities and years of inconsistent brands messaging."Last week, Penney reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit of $75 million, but that represented a 70 percent decline from a year ago. Same-store sales fell 4 percent in the holiday quarter and total sales fell 9.5 percent.  Continue reading...

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