J. C. Penney Company, Inc. comparable department store sales decreased 1.9 percent for the four weeks ended Feb. 2, 2008, compared with guidance for a mid-single digit decrease and a 3.6 percent increase in last years January period.
|Preliminary January Sales Summary|
|($ in millions)|
|Excluding the 2006 53rd Week|
|Period Ended||% Increase/(Decrease)|
|Feb. 03,||%||Total Sales||Comparable|
Total Direct sales increased 3.6 percent on a four-week basis compared with guidance for a mid-single digit decrease and a 1.5 percent decrease last year. Internet sales through www.jcp.com increased 19.1 percent in January on a four-week basis on top of a 23.5 percent increase last year. Internet sales were above expectations and led to improved Direct results for the month.
Including last years 53rd week, department store sales decreased 16.3 percent and Direct sales decreased 17.7 for this years four-week period compared to last years five-week January period.
February Sales and Fourth Quarter Earnings Outlook
Beginning in fiscal 2008, the Company will change its sales reporting methodology to include Internet sales as part of comparable store sales performance. The change in reporting methodology will better reflect the Companys consolidation of merchandising and marketing functions for department stores, jcp.com, and catalog and is consistent with the sales reporting practices of other major retailers. In addition to comparable store sales, the Company will report total sales.
The following guidance for February reflects the new sales reporting methodology. For February, total sales are expected to be about flat, and comparable department store sales are expected to decrease low-single digits. In the February 2007 period, total sales increased 0.9 percent, and comparable store sales increased 1.5 percent as shown in the attached table of historical comparable store sales performance as calculated under the new reporting methodology.
Based on improved January sales and preliminary earnings results, the Company now projects fourth quarter earnings to be at the high end of its original guidance range of $1.65 to $1.80 per share.