First-quarter financial results for J.C. Penney Co. were a solid sign of these trying economic times. For the period ended May 3, J.C. Penney’s net sales fell 5.1%, to $4.12 billion, from $4.35 billion a year ago. What’s more, net income for the quarter sank nearly 50%, to $120 million, from $238 million for the same period last year. Same-store sales decreased 7.4%. On a bright note, Internet sales rose 8.7%.
Chairman/CEO Myron E. Ullman III addressed the poor fiscal quarter in a statement: “Our financial performance in the first quarter was clearly impacted by the weakened consumer environment. We are fortunate in this economic climate to have strong financial flexibility, which enables us to continue to deliver a highly compelling shopping experience. 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.”
At its April analyst meeting, officials provided details of their Bridge Plan to help J.C. Penney to navigate through the current environment and position itself to benefit when conditions become more favorable. The plan includes reduced store openings and renovation plans, as well as rigorous control over operating expenses.