Sales, Net Income Fall for Penney

First-quarter sales for J.C. Penney Co. decreased 5.9%, to $3.8 billion, down from $4.1 billion for the same period last year. For the period ended May 2, net income sank to $25 million, from a net income of $120 million last year. Same-store sales fell 7.5%.

“Our performance in the first quarter reflects the strides we made in communicating to customers the style, quality and value of our offerings,” said chairman/CEO Myron E. Ullman III in a statement. “This helped drive better-than-expected sales throughout the quarter and, along with alignment of inventory levels to current sales trends, led to improved gross margins. Combined with our continued success in controlling expenses, we achieved flow-through to bottom line results that improved steadily vs. our outlook at the beginning of the quarter.”

Ullman added: “Looking to the balance of the year, we expect consumer spending and mall traffic to remain weak, which will be particularly evident against tough comparisons in the second quarter. As these conditions persist, we will continue to deliver newness and excitement in our merchandise assortments, while maintaining a vigilant focus on the areas of the business we control.”