Third-quarter net sales at JCPenney were down 4.8%, but its ecommerce arm continues to shine. Online sales through JCP.com were $266 million for the quarter, up 24.5% versus the same period last year and reflecting sequential increases through the quarter.
Though jcp.com sales are less than 1/10th of JCPenneys’ total net sales, CEO Myron E. (Mike) Ullman said during the merchant’s earnings conference call this morning that its ecommerce business is quite reassuring. Ullman said he sees this ecommerce growth escalating during the fourth quarter.
In a Q&A session with analysts and reporters, Ullman said JCP.com did not have the same assortment online last year as it did in its stores. That lack of synergy kept in-store associates from being able to fulfill customer’s needs if an item was out of stock.
Ullman said the alignment of in-store merchandise with its ecommerce inventory is “quite reassuring” this holiday season.
Ullman added that JCP.com will be re-launched in March. He did not provide further details on the call.
While JCPenney as a whole saw its fiscal year 2012 sales plummet 24.8%, its ecommerce sales took a 33% plunge. The $1.02 billion in ecommerce sales for the year were the lowest for JCP.com since 2005, when it became the first retailer to break the $1 billion mark in online sales.
But sales at JCP.com have rebounded with double-digit growth each of the past four months. The ecommerce site’s sales grew 14% in July, 10.8% in August, 25.3% in September and 37.6% in October.