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Another big loss for J.C. Penney as sales plunge 16.4%


Plano, Texas -- J.C. Penney Co. reported a deeper-than-expected loss of $348 million for its first quarter, compared to $163 million in the year-ago period, amid a 16.4% decline in revenue. The results came as the company seeks to undo the damage caused by former CEO Ron Johnson’s costly and largely failed makeover.

Excluding restructuring and management transition charges and noncash pension plan expense, Penney’s adjusted net loss for the first quarter, ended May4, was $289 million. Revenue dropped 16.4% to $2.64 billion. Same-store sales fell 16.6%, worse than the 15% decrease analysts predicted.

Penney blamed the revenue declines on Johnson’s failed pricing and marketing strategies. The retailer also said that construction to revamp its home departments had put a dent in sales.

In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, Penney's new chief executive, Mike Ullman, said that reconnecting with its customers will take time. He said that the retailer recognized “the magnitude of the challenges that we face, and we believe we can put J.C. Penney back on a pathway to profitable growth."

He pledged reemphasize the Penney private brands — the shelved St. John’s Bay for women’s is coming back — and improve the performance of its online store.

"Over the last year, functioned as a completely separate entity inside the company, with little synergy between stores and online," Ullman said.

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