Net sales at J.C. Penney continue to decline, but the general merchants’ second-quarter results show sudden double-digit growth in its ecommerce channel.
On Aug. 20, JCP reported net sales dropped 11.9% to$2.66 billion, compared to $3.02 billion in the fiscal second quarter of 2012.
And while online sales at jcp.com were $215 million for the quarter, down 2.2% when compared to the same period last year, the performance of jcp.com improved significantly when compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Sales at jcp.com and improved each month within the second quarter, and July sales are up over 14% to last year.
Women’s and men’s apparel were particular bright spots online, with both divisions experiencing double-digit growth in the quarter, J.C. Penney said in its earnings release. Home results also saw significant improvement online, reflecting customers’ preference to shop Home presented by category.
Jcp.com also reclaimed its position among the most visited retail websites, based on aggregated traffic. Back to school traffic online was also encouraging, with good performances from private brands like Arizona and Xersion, and national brands such as Levi’s, Nike and Carter’s.
According to a recent Experian Marketing Services insight, JCPenney.com has been ranked the number two online retail site for back-to-school. JCP.com did not crack the top ten of last year’s Experian insight.
However, J.C. Penneys’ online success does not erase the fact that its net loss for the second quarter was $586 million.
“There are no quick fixes to correct the errors of the past,” said JCP CEO Mike Ullman, who came out of retirement to replace Ron Johnson as CEO in April, in the earnings release. “We have identified the challenges, put solid plans in place to address them and have experienced and capable people in key roles to do so.”
Ullman added that he is encouraged by JCP’s early back-to-school season results, and that the merchant is focusing its efforts on regaining customer loyalty by through its brand offerings, customer service and pricing.