J.C. Penney’s (NYSE:JCP) Q4 Earnings Beats Expectations

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Department store chain J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE:JCP) posted higher-than-expected earnings on Friday covering the last 3 months leading to December, due largely to higher sales and lower expenses.

Excluding items, the company earned $0.39 per share, compared to $0.40 from the year before, beating average expectation of $0.23 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales for the last three months leading to the holidays grew 2.6% to $4 billion, beating analysts’ estimates of $3.99 billion.

Quarterly same-store sales went up 4.1%, meeting earlier projections of analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.

The Texas-based department store chain said home, Sephora, footwear and handbags divisions brought in the most sales.

J.C. Penney said it expects positive adjusted earnings for the current year and sees a 3% to 4% increase in comparable sales.

The retailer forecasts this year’s EBITDA at $1 billion, and a 40-60 basis points increase in gross margin compared to the previous year.

J.C. Penney said in early January same-store sales spiked in the months of November and December, causing shares to rise significantly.

J.C. Penny’s upbeat earnings report was in sharp contrast to sales reports from rivals Macy’s Inc (NYSE: M), Kohl’s Corp (NYSE: KSS) and Nordstrom Inc (NYSE: JWN), which reported disappointing figures for the holiday quarter.

As of  Thursday’s session, J.C. Penney shares have so far gained 25.5% this year.

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