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JC Penny Q3 sales fall 8.7%
15
Nov '08
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. reported earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.55 for the third quarter ended Nov. 1, 2008, compared with $1.17 in last year's third quarter. Net income for the 2008 third quarter was $124 million versus $261 million last year.

"We believe that JCPenney continues to be well positioned in a very challenging retail environment," said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer. "As sales have been impacted by lower consumer spending and declining mall traffic, we have been effective in reducing SG&A expenses without compromising our customer experience and in managing our inventories to appropriate levels.

Over the course of the third quarter, we have also executed initiatives that bring newness, excitement and convenience for customers into our stores, catalogs and jcp.com.

"For the Christmas shopping season, our gift assortment, including our "redbox gifts(TM)" collection, is more exciting and robust than ever and will allow our customers to make these holidays memorable, special and affordable for their families. We are supporting our holiday assortment through a comprehensive marketing campaign that clearly demonstrates JCPenney's unique value proposition of exceptional style and quality at very affordable prices."

During the quarter, the Company announced that it will launch two new exclusive brands for spring 2009: I "Heart" Ronson, a complete women's fashion sportswear line designed by Charlotte Ronson, one of today's hottest designers; and ALLEN B., a women's fashion sportswear and dress collection for the trendy lifestyle customer from "Master of Trend" Allen B. Schwartz. These new additions will complement other recent brand launches to which customers have responded well, highlighted by the re-launches of Worthington and Stafford, two of America's largest career wear brands.

Mr. Ullman added, "With the expectation that challenging conditions will persist well into 2009, we will be planning our business accordingly. The execution of our Bridge Plan ensures that our strategies directly reflect economic realities while we capitalize on opportunities to maintain and build our market share. Specifically, the continuation of vigilant expense control, inventory management in alignment with expected sales trends, and maintaining our financial strength will position our Company to regain its growth trajectory when the environment improves."

Operating Performance in the Third Quarter:
During the third quarter, total sales decreased 8.7 percent. Comparable store sales decreased 10.1 percent, which was in line with the Company's revised guidance for a low-double digit decrease. The best sales performance was in women's and children's apparel and family shoes, with continued weakness in home and fine jewelry.

Geographically, the best performances were in the northeast and central regions while the southeast and southwest regions were the softest. Internet sales through www.jcp.com decreased 0.3 percent compared with an 11.8 percent increase in the same quarter last year.

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