J. C. Penney Company, Inc. announced financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter and full year ended Feb. 1, 2014.
For the fourth quarter, JCPenney reported net sales of $3.78 billion compared to $3.88 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, which included the additional 53rd week.
Comparable store sales rose 2.0 % for the quarter, which represented a sequential improvement of 680 basis points when compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2013. Online sales through jcp.com were $381 million for the quarter, up 26.3 % versus the same period last year, excluding the 53rd week.
Home, men's apparel, women's accessories and Sephora inside JCPenney were the Company's top performing merchandise divisions.
For the quarter, gross margin was 28.4 % of sales, compared to 23.8 % in the same quarter last year, representing a 460 basis point improvement.
Gross margin included a negative impact of 190 basis points associated with the discontinuation of brands that are not part of the Company's go-forward merchandising strategy, of which 90 basis points was related to the de-valuing of discontinued brand inventory at year end.
Gross margin was also negatively impacted by higher than anticipated clearance markdowns taken late in the quarter.
SG&A expenses for the quarter were approximately $1 billion, down 17.0 % from the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Company incurred $50 million in restructuring and management transition charges, including $22 million in Home office and stores, $5 million in management transition and $23 million of other.
In the fourth quarter, the Company recognized a tax benefit of $270 million primarily related to gains resulting from the annual re-measurement of the pension plan. This tax benefit was offset by tax expense recorded for such gains in other comprehensive income.