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Thursday, May 15, 2008

J.C. Penney's first-quarter profit falls 50 percent - Dallas Business Journal:

Weak consumer spending cut first-quarter profits at J.C. Penney Co. Inc. by half, and the retailer said it expects difficult conditions for the rest of the year.

The Plano-based department store chain said earnings fell to $120 million, or 54 cents per share, from $238 million, or $1.04 per share, a year ago.

Total sales for the quarter declined 5 percent to $4.13 billion from $4.35 billion.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 50 percent per share on revenue of $4.17 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

Sales at stores open at least a year fell 7 percent. Although sales were weak across all categories, the best sales were in men's apparel and family footwear, with continued softness in most home categories and fine jewelry. Sales were strongest in the Northeast and Central regions.

Internet sales rose 9 percent, compared with an 18 percent increase in last year's first quarter.

"Our financial performance in the first quarter was clearly impacted by the weakened consumer environment," said Chairman and Chief Executive Myron E. Ullman III in a statement.

"Looking ahead, we will continue to take the necessary actions to align our business plans with the expectation that conditions will remain difficult for the remainder of 2008," Ulllman added.

J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) forecast second-quarter earnings of 38 cents per share, with sales declining in the low-single digits. Same-store sales are expected to fall in the mid-single digits.

The company plans to manage its inventory through "appropriate pricing actions" and reducing future merchandise commitments. In addition, it plans to curb its store opening and renovation plans to cut costs. The company also has been trying to win customers by introducing new lines aimed at teens.

J.C. Penney operates 1,074 department stores in the United States and Puerto Rico and also sells merchandise through its Web site and catalog.

J.C. Penney's first-quarter profit falls 50 percent - Dallas Business Journal:
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