NEW YORK (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Shares of Plano-based J.C. Penney tumbled 10 percent before the opening bell Friday after posting an unexpected sales drop, capping a miserable week for retailers.
Macy’s, Nordstrom and Kohl’s have all reported weak sales results that revealed how drastically business has fallen off since in mid-March.
J.C. Penney is clawing its way back after a catastrophic reinvention plan under former CEO Ron Johnson sent sales and profits into a free fall in 2012 and 2013. Business had stabilized, though it has yet to fully recover.
Under its CEO Marvin R. Ellison, the department store is looking for new ways to increase sales while playing catch up in e-commerce. The company is getting back in the appliance business in nearly 500 stores, almost half of the locations, this summer. Penney got out of the major appliance business more than 30 years ago. That could be a big opportunity. Stores like Home Depot have avoided the retail funk thanks to a strong housing market.
A challenging environment in other areas of retail, however, could stall any momentum J.C. Penney has.
The department store reported its first decline in same-store sales, 0.4 percent, reversing five straight quarters of growth. Analysts had expected an increase of about 3 percent.
The company lost $68 million, or 22 cents per share, for the three-month period ended April 30. That compares with a loss of $150 million, or 49 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Revenue dropped 1.6 percent to $2.81 billion.
Analysts were expecting a loss of 38 cents on revenue of $2.92 billion, according to FactSet.
Earlier this year, the department store operator said it had a surplus of square footage available in the Plano office building, on Legacy Drive between the Sam Rayburn Tollway and the Dallas North Tollway, and was looking at potentially sell and partially leaseback its headquarters to help lower debt and create long-term savings.
The company still expects same-store sales to rise 3 percent to 4 percent for the year. But it pared down its gross margin estimates for 2016 due to the expenses it will occur in the rollout of its appliance business, and also rapid growth for its online business.
Shares fell 77 cents, to $7.03, in premarket trading Friday.
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