J.C. Penney Q4 Profit Beats View; To Close Up To 140 Stores

Department store chain J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP) on Friday reported a turnaround to profit in the fourth quarter as a slight decline in sales was more than offset by lower expenses. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter beat analysts’ expectations, while revenues slightly missed their estimates.

Earlier today, J.C. Penny announced a plan to optimize its national retail operations as part of the company’s successful return to profitability. Under the plan, the company expects to close two distribution facilities and approximately 130 to 140 stores over the next few months.

As a result of the closure of stores, the company has decided to initiate a voluntary early retirement program for approximately 6,000 eligible associates. J.C. Penney expects annual cost savings of about $200 million from the actions.

The company’s fourth quarter net income was $192 million or $0.61 per share, compared to net loss of $131 million or $0.43 per share in the same period last year.

Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.64, compared to $0.39 per share in the year-ago period. On average, 22 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.61 per share. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales for the quarter, which included the key holiday season, declined 0.9 percent to $3.96 billion from $4.00 billion in the year-ago period. Comparable store sales declined 0.7 percent for the quarter. Analysts were looking for sales of…

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