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The embattled retailer's net loss of $93 million, or 29 cents a share, in the three months through Nov. 2, compared with a $151 million loss a year earlier. Its adjusted loss, which excludes restructuring costs and other one-time items, was 30 cents a share, better than the 56-cent loss that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had projected.
"We made significant progress on our efforts to return J.C. Penney to sustainable, profitable growth,” CEO Jill Soltau said in a statement.
Net sales fell 10.1 percent year-over-year to $2.38 billion, less than the $2.51 billion that Wall Street was looking for. Adjusted sales at stores open at least a year, a retail industry benchmark, tumbled 6.6 percent from last year, the Plano, Texas-based company said in the statement.
Inventory fell 9 percent from a year ago to $2.93 billion, as the retailer kept a tighter rein on turnaround time for merchandise waiting to be sold. J.C. Penney ended the third quarter with liquidity of $1.7 billion and expects to maintain at least $1.5 billion for the rest of the year.
Looking ahead, J.C. Penney sees adjusted Ebitda, a measure of earnings that approximates cash flow, of more than $475 million for fiscal 2019, up from its previous estimate of $440 million to $475 million. The company still sees same-store sales falling 7 percent to 8 percent.
Earlier this month, the retailer rolled out new concepts in an effort to return to profitability. J.C. Penney remodeled its store in Hurst, Texas, with a fitness studio, videogame lounge and cafe, The Wall Street Journal reported. The location is also offering style classes, hair and makeup workshops and cooking-gadget demonstrations, the report said.
J.C. Penney shares have tumbled 90 percent since March 2016 amid changing consumer preferences and a shift from brick-and-mortar shopping to e-commerce.
The company’s market capitalization topped out at $19.5 billion on June 19, 1998. It was below $350 million at the end of the day on Thursday.