J. C. Penney outlines fiscal 2011 targets
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. reported income from continuing operations of $1.09 per share for the quarter ended Jan. 29,2011,
including the Company's previously announced one-time
restructuring charges of $0.08 per share. Comparable store sales for the quarter grew 4.5 percent over last year due to the success of the Company's merchandising initiatives, including the launch of exclusive brands such as Liz Claiborne, and the compelling value offered to customers through JCPenney's private brands such as Worthington(R) and St. John's Bay(R).
Additionally, the Company announced its Board of Directors has approved a new $900 million open market share repurchase program to be funded using the Company's existing cash reserves. The Company expects to begin share repurchases under this program in March of this year.
Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer, said, "Our performance in 2010 reflects the strides we have made to deliver on our operating goals and position jcpenney as a retail industry leader. This was particularly evident in the fourth quarter when the actions we took during the year -- including new growth initiatives and improvements across our merchandise assortments, redefining the jcp.com experience and driving efficiencies across our Company -- enabled us to achieve sales, market share and profitability growth that surpassed our expectations, and to establish a share buyback plan which will return value to our shareholders."
In 2010, the Company became the exclusive department store retailer for Liz Claiborne, MNG by Mango and Call it Spring by The ALDO Group - attractions that brought new customers to jcpenney. The Company ended the year with 231 Sephora inside jcpenney boutiques, and announced plans to open 76 additional locations in 2011, bringing this unique beauty offering and differentiated experience to more customers than ever before. By the end of 2011, MNG by Mango and Call it Spring will each be in approximately 500 jcpenney locations across the country.
Fourth Quarter Operating Performance
Comparable store sales in the fourth quarter increased 4.5 percent over last year, ahead of the Company's guidance for sales to increase 3 to 4 percent. Total sales for the quarter increased 2.8 percent, and continued to be impacted by the Company's exit of its catalog business. Internet sales through jcp.com were $495 million in the fourth quarter, increasing 6.7 percent over last year. Geographically, the best performance was in the southeast region of the country. Overall, the strongest merchandise results were in men's apparel, women's accessories and Sephora inside jcpenney. The continued strength in women's accessories and the Sephora inside jcpenney boutiques reflects the success of the Company's focus on enhancing the center core of its stores to provide both style and value for modern customers.
For the quarter, gross margin dollars increased $23 million, or approximately 1 percent over last year. As a percent of sales, gross margin was in-line with the Company's expectations and