JCPenney Reports Third Quarter 2018 Financial Results

Inventory Reduced by 5.4 % From Prior Year; Company Expects Positive Annual Free Cash Flow


PLANO, Texas – (Nov. 15, 2018) – J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) today announced financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended Nov. 3, 2018.Comparable sales decreased 5.4 % for the third quarter. Net loss for the quarter was $151 million or ($0.48) per share.

Jill Soltau, chief executive officer, said, “I am excited to be at JCPenney, and having been in the office for a month now, I am encouraged by the many opportunities I see. Our objective to put JCPenney back on a path to profitable growth is clear. In the coming weeks and months, I will continue to meet with and learn from our teams throughout the entire organization – talking with them about what we’re doing that’s working well and, most importantly, what we can do to address our opportunities.”

Soltau continued, “In spite of our overall sales results, I am encouraged by the recent underlying trends in key businesses such as women’s apparel, active, special sizes and fine jewelry. We are making progress and taking the necessary steps to right-size our inventory positions to better support the brands and categories that are demonstrating profitable sales growth. While restoring JCPenney to sustained profitable growth will be a lengthy process, I understand the need for quick action. My commitment is that we will make sound, strategic decisions backed by data, and will always be rooted in delivering on our customers’ wants and expectations. We will act swiftly but thoughtfully as we move the business forward. While these things take time, the results we are reporting today only strengthen our sense of urgency and purpose.”

For the third quarter ended Nov. 3, 2018, total net sales decreased 5.8 % to $2.65 billion compared to $2.82 billion for the third quarter ended Oct. 28, 2017. Comparable sales decreased 5.4 % for the third quarter on an unshifted basis. Reflecting the calendar shift in 2018 due to the 53rd week in 2017, comparable sales decreased 4.5 %. Credit income, which was previously reflected as a reduction to SG&A, was $80 million for the third quarter this year compared to $69 million in the third quarter last year.

Jewelry, Women’s Apparel and Men’s were the Company’s top performing divisions during the quarter.

Cost of goods sold, which excludes depreciation and amortization, was $1.81 billion, or 68.1 % of sales, for the third quarter this year compared to $1.86 billion, or 66.0 % of sales in the same period last year. The increase as a rate of sales was primarily driven by planned markdown and pricing actions taken in the quarter to clear slow-moving and excess inventory.

SG&A expenses for the third quarter were $883 million, or 33.3 % of sales compared to $920 million, or 32.7 % of sales in the third quarter last year. The dollar reduction to last year was primarily driven by lower corporate overhead and incentive compensation.

For the third quarter, the Company’s net loss was $151 million, or ($0.48) per share, compared to a net loss of $125 million, or ($0.40) per share in the same period last year.

Adjusted net loss was $164 million, or ($0.52) per share, for the third quarter this year compared to an adjusted net loss of $108 million, or ($0.35) per share, for the third quarter last year.

A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial measures is included in the schedules accompanying the consolidated financial statements in this release.

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the third quarter were $168 million. Inventory at the end of the third quarter was $3.22 billion, down 5.4 % compared to the end of the third quarter last year.

The Company ended the quarter with liquidity in excess of $1.9 billion.

Guidance Update:
Given the Company has recently announced both a new CEO and an interim CFO and to allow the ability to effectively assess and address current and go-forward execution of the business, the Company believes it is appropriate to withdraw its previous 2018 full year earnings guidance and update its previous full year comparable store sales guidance. Comparable store sales for fiscal 2018 are now expected to be down low-single digits. The Company continues to expect to achieve positive free cash flow for the year.

Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call Details
At 8:30 a.m. ET today, the Company will host a live conference call conducted by Chief Executive Officer Jill Soltau and select members of management. 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 9959597 conference ID or visit the Company’s investor relations website at https://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 9959597 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 at @jcpnews

Investors 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 retailers, combines an expansive footprint of over 860 stores across the United States and Puerto Rico with a powerful e-commerce site, jcp.com, to deliver style and value for all hard-working American families. At every touchpoint, customers will discover stylish merchandise at incredible value from an extensive portfolio of private, exclusive and national brands. Reinforcing this shopping experience is the customer service and warrior spirit of approximately 98,000 associates across the globe, all driving toward the Company's mission to help customers find what they love for less time, money and effort. 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, cost of goods sold, 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 Company's 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 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, 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 Company’s 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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