JCPenney's turnaround gains traction

JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) announced that same-store sales increased 6 percent in the second quarter and online sales jumped 16.7 percent to $249 million from the same period last year.

It seems the flailing retailer's plan for a turnaround may be taking shape. The company also reported a net loss of $172 million, narrowing the gap from the $586 million reported one year ago. 

"Our turnaround initiatives continue to produce improved financial results. In the second quarter, we gained additional market share while significantly increasing gross margin in a highly competitive promotional environment," said Myron Ullman, CEO, JCPenney.

Total net sales were $2.8 billion for the second quarter, up from $2.66 billion in 2013.

The top performing merchandising divisions were women's and men's apparel and accessories, home, and fine jewelery. Ullman noted that gross margin improved sequentially throughout the quarter and was positively impacted by the company's clearance sales performance.

"Our customers know they can count on JCPenney to deliver relevant, stylish merchandise at a price that fits their budget," Ullman said. "With our unique assortment of powerful private brands, key national brands and exclusive attractions—all at prices customers can afford—we expect to continue driving profitable sales this back-to-school season. As we approach the completion of our turnaround, we are focused on reestablishing JCPenney as the premier shopping destination for the moderate consumer."

As part of the department store's revamp, JCPenney is in the midst of closing down 33 underperforming stores while simultaneously initiating a new look at the 124,000 sq.-ft. Brooklyn location.

JCPenney, like other department stores, has been under a lot of pressure as they face growing competition from other retailers. To boost sales and customers, chains have looked to their online businesses and expanded their offerings of goods.

For more:
-See this JCPenney press release

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