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 year’s January period.

Total department store sales in January increased 1.7 percent on a four-week basis. During the January period, the best merchandise performance was in the men’s, women’s and children’s apparel divisions with home and fine jewelry being the weakest. Geographically, the best performance was in the northwest region of the country, with softer results in the southeast. Department stores performance during the month benefited from seasonal clearance activities. In addition, the Company experienced good initial response to spring merchandise assortments.


Preliminary January Sales Summary
($ in millions)
Excluding the 2006 53rd Week
Period Ended % Increase/(Decrease)
Feb. 02,


Feb. 03, % Total Sales Comparable


Comparable Stores
2008 2007 Inc/Dec 2007 2007 2006

4 Weeks

Department stores $ 963 $ 1,151 (16.3 ) 1.7 (1.9 ) 3.6
Direct   200   243 (17.7 ) 3.6
Total Company $ 1,163 $ 1,394 (16.6 ) 2.0

13 Weeks

Department stores $ 5,492 $ 5,720 (4.0 ) (0.5 ) (3.6 ) 2.2
Direct   899   944 (4.8 ) 0.8
Total Company $ 6,391 $ 6,664 (4.1 ) (0.3 )

52 Weeks

Department stores $ 17,014 $ 16,948 0.4 1.6 (1.1 ) 3.7
Direct   2,846   2,955 (3.7 ) (2.0 )
Total Company $ 19,860 $ 19,903 (0.2 ) 1.1



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 year’s 53rd week, department store sales decreased 16.3 percent and Direct sales decreased 17.7 for this year’s four-week period compared to last year’s 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 Company’s 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.