J.C. Penney Sales Down, But Better Than Expected

J. C. Penney Co. said Thursday its June same-store sales fell 8.2 percent, but beat analysts' expectations.

The department store chain also narrowed its loss estimate for the second quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected same-store sales to fall 9.3 percent. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, are a key indicator of retailer performance since they measure growth at existing stores rather than newly opened ones.

The Plano, Texas-based retailer said it now expects to report a second-quarter loss of 8 cents to 12 cents per share. Previously, it had predicted a loss of 15 cents to 25 cents per share.

It also said it expects second-quarter same-store sales to fall by 9.5 percent to 10.5 percent, compared to an earlier prediction that same-store sales would fall by 9 percent to 12 percent.

In the five weeks that ended July 4, J. C. Penney said total sales fell 6.7 percent to $1.5 billion. Father's Day gifts boosted sales as did fine jewelry, which sold better than in previous months after a promotional event for diamond jewelry. The children's division had the weakest sales as the company had fewer clearance sales.

Sales results were better in the Southwest and worse in the Southeast.

J. C. Penney said it expects July same-store sales to fall by 13 percent to 16 percent.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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