May 21, 2019 / 12:22 PM / 2 months ago

J.C. Penney same-store sales fall more than expected, shares drop

(Reuters) - J.C. Penney Co Inc reported a steeper-than-expected fall in quarterly comparable-store sales on Tuesday after the retailer exited its appliance and in-store furniture categories, sending shares down 10% in premarket trading.

FILE PHOTO: An empty shopping cart sits in front of the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside, Illinois, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo

The retailer, which earlier this year said it would stop selling major appliances like fridges and washing machines, said leaving those categories cut comparable sales by 20 basis points.

One of the oldest names in American retail, J.C. Penney has struggled to excite customers with its mid-priced clothing and has steadily lost out to fast-fashion brands and online shopping.

Penney has tried to strengthen its apparel business to compete with online retailers like Amazon.com Inc and off-price retailers like TJX Cos Inc.

The Plano, Texas-based company has shut hundreds of stores over the years and revamped its locations to boost sales and revive profits.

Sales at stores open for at least 12 months fell 5.5% in the first quarter, its sixth straight quarterly drop. Analysts, on average, had expected a 4.21% fall, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company’s net loss nearly doubled to $154 million, or 48 cents per share, in the three months ended May 4.

Excluding one-time items, the company lost 46 cents a share, more than the 38-cent loss analysts had expected.

Total revenue decreased 4.3% to $2.56 billion, in line with the average analyst estimate.

The company said it hired Shawn Gensch as its chief customer officer. Gensch, hailing from Sprouts Farmers Market Inc, will oversee marketing strategies relating to areas including digital, advertising and customer research.

Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Bernadette Baum

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