Efforts by retailer J.C. Penney to be more service focused and fashion forward to win its shoppers back did not pay off at the beginning of the year after the company posted a steep loss amidst weaker sales.
Quarterly sales for the three-month period through April 29 fell to $2.7 billion, which were down from last year during the same period of $2.8 billion.
Sales at its stores opened a minimum of one year were down 3.5%. The longtime retailer posted a $180 million net loss equal to 58 cents a share. That was over twice the amount of its loss of $68 million equal to 22 cents per share during the same three months one year ago.
The results pushed down the share price of the retail chain by 7.35% in trading before the opening bell on Friday.
J.C. Penney is the most recent retailer to post earnings for the beginning of 2017 and the results were one more sign the overall industry had not reversed the pattern of less revenue due to the shifting patterns of shopping and the dominance by Amazon and other e-commerce platforms.
On Thursday, Macy’s posted profit that fell by 38% to just over $71 million. Kohl’s saw a drop in sales of $2.7%, but did manage to increase its profits from $17 million to $66 million after posting fewer discounts and less inventory.
J.C. Penney, which mostly has maintained the store footprint it had, said during February it would follow what many retailers have done and close between 130 and 140 stores, while giving buyouts to as many as 6,000 employees.
The stores closures amount to between 13% and 14% of its overall stores.
Several traditional retailers decided they had more brick and mortar stores that were needed during a time when consumers were doing more window shopping and then often times buying online from home.
Sears and Macy’s are amongst the department stores that once dominated the retail landscape but have closed dozens of their stores.
The retailer is battling another challenge from the giants in fast-fashion H&M and Forever 21 along with discount retailers such as T.J. Maxx that appeal to the fickle consumer looking for the most recent styles along with shoppers who like finding designer outfits at bargain prices.
At the beginning of 2017, the retailer said it would increase its beauty products, toys and home goods’ selection to increase interest amongst its customers which for the most part is made up of women and homeowners.
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