JCPenney Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2017 Earnings Exceeded Expectations

Fourth Quarter Comparable Sales Increase 2.6%

Outstanding Debt Reduced by Over $600 Million in 2017


PLANO, Texas – (Mar. 2, 2018) – J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) today announced financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter and full year ended Feb. 3, 2018. Comparable sales increased 2.6 % for the fourth quarter and increased 0.1 % for full year 2017. Fourth quarter earnings per share was $0.81 and full year net loss per share was ($0.37). Fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share was $0.57 and full year adjusted earnings per share was $0.22. A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial measures is included in the schedules accompanying the consolidated financial statements in this release.

Marvin R. Ellison, chairman and chief executive officer said, “We are encouraged by our results for the fourth quarter and for fiscal 2017. Through the hard work and dedication of the entire JCPenney team, we delivered our second consecutive year of positive adjusted earnings. For 2017, we improved adjusted earnings per share by 175 %, reduced our outstanding debt levels by over $600 million and generated over $200 million of free cash flow. During the fourth quarter, we delivered our strongest positive sales comps and achieved our largest gross margin improvement for the year. Our fourth quarter gross margin improvement, combined with our continued commitment to expense discipline, helped us generate adjusted earnings per share of $0.57 for the quarter.”

Ellison continued, “In 2018, we will intensify our market share efforts in Appliances, Mattresses and Furniture, while continuing to take steps to modernize our apparel assortment and omni-channel. Our strategy and plan is clear and consistent, and we remain focused on two critical factors – to operate the business for growth and deliver profitable earnings. I would like to thank our nearly 100,000 associates around our company for their hard work and more importantly, for their commitment to JCPenney.”

Fourth Quarter 2017 Results
Total net sales for the 14 weeks ended Feb. 3, 2018 increased 1.8 % to $4.03 billion compared to $3.96 billion for the 13 weeks ended Jan. 28, 2017. Comparable sales increased 2.6 % in the fourth quarter and were on the same 13 week basis as the fourth quarter last year.

Jewelry, Home, Sephora, Footwear and Handbags and Salon were the Company’s top performing divisions during the quarter. Geographically, the Southeast and Gulf Coast were the best performing regions of the country.

Cost of goods sold, which excludes depreciation and amortization, was $2.68 billion, or 66.4 % of sales, compared to $2.65 billion, or 66.9 % of sales in the same period last year. The improvement was primarily driven by decreased promotional activity during the quarter resulting from an improved inventory position. This improvement was partially offset by the continued growth in the Company’s online and major appliance businesses and higher shrink rates.

SG&A expenses were $943 million compared to $925 million for the same period last year. As a percentage of sales, SG&A expenses were 23.4 % and flat compared to last year. Reductions primarily in store controllable costs and marketing spend were partially offset by lower credit income and higher incentive compensation.

Net income was $254 million, or $0.81 per share, compared to net income of $192 million, or $0.61 per share in the same period last year. The improvement was primarily due to a $75 million tax reform benefit recorded in the fourth quarter this year.

Adjusted net income was $179 million, or $0.57 per share, for the fourth quarter this year. Adjusted net income for the fourth quarter last year was $202 million, or $0.64 per share, which included a gain of $62 million, or $0.20 per share, associated with the sale of the Company's home office.

Full Year 2017 Results
Total net sales decreased (0.3) % to $12.51 billion compared to $12.55 billion last year. Comparable sales increased 0.1 % for full year 2017. The slight decline in total net sales was primarily due to store closures in 2017, most of which closed in the first half of the year, and was partially offset by incremental sales for the 53rd week.

For the year, cost of goods sold, which excludes depreciation and amortization, was $8.17 billion, or 65.4 % of sales, compared to $8.07 billion, or 64.3 % of sales last year. This increase was primarily driven by the liquidation of both closed store and slow-moving inventory, the continued growth in the Company’s online and major appliance businesses and higher shrink rates.

SG&A expenses declined 2 % or $70 million to $3.47 billion, or 27.7 % of sales, a decrease of 50 basis points as a percentage of sales compared to last year. These savings were primarily driven by reductions in store controllable costs and marketing efficiencies, which were partially offset by lower credit income and higher incentive compensation.

Net loss was ($116) million, or ($0.37) per share, compared to net income of $1 million, or $0.00 per share last year. This reduction was driven primarily by restructuring charges associated with the fiscal 2017 store closures and voluntary early retirement program.

Adjusted net income increased $44 million to $68 million, or $0.22 per share, compared to adjusted net income of $24 million, or $0.08 per share, last year.

Adjusted EBITDA was $972 million compared to $1.01 billion last year.

Inventory at year-end was $2.76 billion, a decrease of 3.2 % compared to last year-end. Capital expenditures for the year, net of landlord allowances, were $375 million. Free cash flow was a positive $213 million for full year 2017, an increase of $210 million versus last year.

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of year were $458 million. During fiscal 2017, the Company reduced its outstanding debt position by over $600 million. The Company ended the fiscal year with liquidity in excess of $2.3 billion.

Outlook
The Company’s 2018 full year guidance is as follows:

  • Comparable store sales: expected to be 0.0 % to 2.0 %; and
  • Adjusted earnings per share1: expected to be $0.05 to $0.25.

1 A reconciliation of non-GAAP forward-looking projections to GAAP financial measures is not available as the nature or amount of potential adjustments, which may be significant, cannot be determined at this time.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Earnings Conference Call Details

At 8:30 a.m. ET today, the Company will host a live conference call conducted by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marvin R. Ellison and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Davis. Management will discuss the Company’s performance during the quarter and take questions from participants. To access the conference call, please dial (844) 243-9275, or (225) 283-0394 for international callers, and reference 6887218 conference ID or visit the Company’s investor relations website at http://ir.jcpenney.com. Supplemental slides will be available on the Company’s investor relations website approximately 10 minutes before the start of the conference call.

Telephone playback will be available for seven days beginning approximately two hours after the conclusion of the conference call by dialing (855) 859-2056, or (404) 537-3406 for international callers, and referencing 6887218 conference ID.

Investors and others should note that we currently announce material information using SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls and webcasts.  In the future, we will continue to use these channels to distribute material information about the Company and may also utilize our website and/or various social media to communicate important information about the Company, key personnel, new brands and services, trends, new marketing campaigns, corporate initiatives and other matters. Information that we post on our website or on social media channels could be deemed material; therefore, we encourage investors, the media, our customers, business partners and others interested in our Company to review the information we post on our website as well as the following social media channels:

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jcp) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/jcpnews).

Any updates to the list of social media channels we may use to communicate material information will be posted on the Investor Relations page of the Company's website at www.jcpenney.com.


Media Relations:
(972) 431-3400 or [email protected]; Follow us @jcpnews

Investor Relations:
(972) 431-5500 or [email protected]

About JCPenney:
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP), one of the nation’s largest apparel and home furnishings retailers, combines an expansive footprint of approximately 875 stores across the United States and Puerto Rico with a powerful e-commerce site, jcp.com, to connect with shoppers how, when and where they prefer to shop. At every customer touchpoint, she will get her Penney’s worth of a broad assortment of products from an extensive portfolio of private, exclusive and national brands. Powering this shopping experience is the customer service and warrior spirit of over 100,000 associates across the globe, all driving toward the Company’s three strategic priorities of strengthening private brands, becoming a world-class omnichannel retailer and increasing revenue per customer. For additional information, please visit jcp.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “expect” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which include, but are not limited to, statements regarding sales, gross margin, selling, general and administrative expenses, earnings and cash flows. Forward-looking statements are based only on the Company’s current assumptions and views of future events and financial performance. They are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of the Companys control that may cause the Company’s actual results to be materially different from planned or expected results. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, general economic conditions, including inflation, recession, unemployment levels, consumer confidence and spending patterns, credit availability and debt levels, changes in store traffic trends, the cost of goods, more stringent or costly payment terms and/or the decision by a significant number of vendors not to sell us merchandise on a timely basis or at all, trade restrictions, the ability to monetize non-core assets on acceptable terms, the ability to implement our strategic plan including our omnichannel initiatives, customer acceptance of our strategies, our ability to attract, motivate and retain key executives and other associates, the impact of cost reduction initiatives, our ability to generate or maintain liquidity, implementation of new systems and platforms including EMV chip technology, changes in tariff, freight and shipping rates, changes in the cost of fuel and other energy and transportation costs, disruptions and congestion at ports through which we import goods, increases in wage and benefit costs, competition and retail industry consolidations, interest rate fluctuations, dollar and other currency valuations, the impact of weather conditions, risks associated with war, an act of terrorism or pandemic, the ability of the federal government to fund and conduct its operations, a systems failure and/or security breach that results in the theft, transfer or unauthorized disclosure of customer, employee or Company information, legal and regulatory proceedings and the Companys ability to access the debt or equity markets on favorable terms or at all. There can be no assurances that the Company will achieve expected results, and actual results may be materially less than expectations. Please refer to the Company’s most recent Form 10-Q for a further discussion of risks and uncertainties. Investors should take such risks into account and should not rely on forward-looking statements when making investment decisions. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this press release is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. We do not undertake to update these forward-looking statements as of any future date.

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