Q4 comps a disaster at JCP

Fouth quarter same store sales fell by a jaw-dropping 31.7% at J.C. Penney, but CEO Ron Johnson insisted the company continues to make great strides with its one year old transformation strategy.

The company report an adjusted net loss for the quarter of $427 million, or $1.95 a share and a full year adjusted net loss of $766 million or $3.49 a share.

"Sales and customer traffic were below our expectations in 2012, but as we execute our ambitious transformation plan, we are pleased with the great strides we made to improve J.C. Penney’s cost structure, technology platforms and the overall customer experience," Johnson said. "We have accomplished so much in the last twelve months. We believe the bold actions taken in 2012 will materially improve the company`s long-term growth and profitability."

The fourth quarter sales results were the worst for the company all year and represented a sequential decline from the third quarter’s negative 26.1%, a negative 21.7% second quarter comp and a negative 18.9% first quarter comp. Those figure were on top of a 0.2% gain in the fiscal year ended January 28, 2012 and a 2.5% increase in the fiscal year ended January 29, 2011.

Undeterred by the weak sales results, Johnson remains convinced of a strategy that involves remodeling the entire chain to showcase a series of brand and designer shops.

"Looking ahead, we are energized by our shop roll out plans for 2013 and the exciting work our teams are undertaking to transform the store," Johnson said. "Combining a new marketing campaign focused on style and value, incredible new brands and updated merchandise, with continued enhancements to the customer experience both in our stores and on jcp.com, we are working towards reconnecting with our core customer while attracting new customers to J.C. Penney."