J. C. Penney company, Inc. reported comparable store sales for the five-week period ended Oct. 1, 2011, decreased 0.6 percent, compared to a 5.1 percent increase in the same period last year.  Total company sales decreased 3.6 percent for the month.  While sales overall were softer than anticipated in September, children's apparel and women's accessories were the better performing merchandise divisions this month.  The southeast region was the top performing geographic region in September.  

The company also announced the latest expansion of its successful exclusive attractions, Sephora inside jcpenney and Call it Spring® by The ALDO Group, bringing the total number of locations to 308 and 505, respectively.

Preliminary September Sales Summary

($ in millions)

Total Company Sales

% Increase/(Decrease)

for period ended

Total Sales

Comp Stores

Oct. 01,

Oct. 02,







5 Weeks     

$      1,426

$      1,480





9 Weeks     

$      2,800

$      2,918





35 Weeks     

$      10,649

$    10,785





Due to weaker than anticipated sales performance during the first two months of the quarter, the company now expects comparable store sales for the third quarter will be approximately flat to last year.  Earnings before restructuring charges for the third quarter are expected to be in the range of 10 cents to 15 cents per share, or (12 cents) to (7 cents) per share after including restructuring charges that are now expected to total approximately 22 cents per share.  This guidance does not include the impact of the company's voluntary early retirement program.  The company anticipates it will provide additional details about its restructuring charges as well as the financial impact of the voluntary early retirement program as part of the company's third quarter earnings release.