JCPenney has been a familiar name on the list of years past, but at least it is no worse off. Revenue is up ever so slightly year after year and share prices are holding steady since early 2015. It’s a far cry from JCPenney’s height in 2007, but it does show stabilization from a company that was all but destroyed from the 2008 financial crisis.
In May of this year, Forbes did a write up on the tumbling shares of JCPenney after an unexpected decline in sales noting that JCPenney is not immune to the downfall facing multiple retail stores like Macy’s Kohl’s and Nordstrom. Traditional department stores have been struggling with the decrease in mall traffic and the increase in competition from discount stores like TJ Maxx and Ross.
JCPenney has been trying to get the store back on track ever since the reinvention efforts of CEO Ron Johnson failed miserably. Now it is placing its bets on Sephora and the national roll out of appliances within the store. “We remain confident that our turnaround remains on track,” stated current CEO Marvin Ellison. However, they have admitted that banking on the appliances and online revenue is breaking into the company’s bottom line.
During that reporting quarter, JCPenney sustained a loss of $68 million which was nothing compared to the loss of $144 million they suffered the year before. Total sales fell as well as shares. It’s hard to imagine how JCPenney – well known as the comeback kid of retailers – will get themselves out of this cycle of loss. The debt laden company remains far from profitable making any slowdown in sales worrisome to investors.
But what do the supporters and critics have to say of the company that never dies? JCPenney might have a fighting chance for a few reasons. The company can outperform its peers. It has been on the less extreme end of the losses that have become all too familiar in with department stores. Even if apparel sales remain sluggish, JCPenney does have the opportunity to pursue growth in other areas such as the home department. Unfortunately, this department seemed to fare the worst during their plunging sales of 2012 and 2013.