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What Impacted JCPenney’s Fiscal 4Q16 Sales?

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Fiscal 4Q16 sales lagged estimates

Mid-tier department store JCPenney (JCP) delivered sales of $3.96 billion in fiscal 4Q16, lagging the consensus analyst sales estimate of $3.98 billion. Fiscal 4Q16 ended on January 28, 2017. JCPenney missed the analysts’ sales estimates in all four quarters of fiscal 2016.

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Headwinds in fiscal 4Q16

In fiscal 4Q16, JCPenney’s (JCP) sales fell 0.9% on a year-over-year basis. Its same-store sales fell 0.7% in fiscal 4Q16. Same-store sales are an important metric for retailers and department stores, indicating a change in sales in a retailer’s existing stores. However, same-store sales ignore the impact of new stores opened or closed during a particular timeframe.

The sales decline in fiscal 4Q16 resulted from weak sales in the first three weeks of November 2016. The company’s sales were offset by improved numbers in the rest of the quarter.

Fiscal 4Q16 witnessed ongoing weakness in apparel sales, especially in women’s apparel. However, JCP experienced same-store sales growth in dresses, activewear, and outerwear categories within its women’s apparel line.

Merchandise categories that performed well in the quarter included home, Sephora, salon, and fine jewelry.

Peers Macy’s (M) and Kohl’s (KSS) reported declines of 4.0% and 2.8%, respectively, in their fiscal 4Q16 sales. Macy’s sales were down due to weakness in the handbags, fashion watches, and fashion jewelry categories. Kohl’s sales were impacted by lower store traffic.

Department store sales are under pressure due to rising competition from online retailers like Amazon (AMZN) and off-price retailers like TJX Companies (TJX).

In fiscal 2016, JCPenney’s sales were down 0.6% to $12.5 billion, and its same-store sales were flat.

Outlook

JCPenney (JCP) expects its same-store sales growth in fiscal 2017 to range from -1.0% to 1.0%. The company is implementing several initiatives to improve its top line, which we’ll discuss in later in this series.

The next article will focus on JCPenney’s margins.

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