J.C. Penney (JCP) Holiday Comps May Come in Worse than Expected

January 14, 2013 7:44 AM EST
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J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) is lower in early trading today following expectations for a large decline in holiday sales results.

According to the NY Post, comparable-store sales are said to have fallen over 30 percent during November and December last year. Data comes following a 26 percent drop in comps with its third-quarter 2012 report.

Investors have been skeptical of CEO Ron Johnson's "Everyday Low Pricing" strategy. The Post noted that discounts of 20 percent to 30 percent were still present as of December 31st, as J.C. Penney looked to clear out loads of unsold clothing and goods. J.C. Penney's website also advertises discounts of 30 percent to 50 percent on "thousands of items."

One analyst from UBS said it would be unlikely for J.C. Penney to meet its goal of generating $1 billion in cash for 2012. Last Friday, he widened his outlook for fourth-quarter comps from a 20 percent drop out to a 28 percent drop.

But, Johnson has admitted that challenges were greater than expected. Investors who stick around might be rewarded, with Johnson's multi-year strategy not set to be completed until 2015.

By that time, comparable-store sales might have eased enough that even modest gains will be chalked-up as a victory.

Shares of Penney are down over 1.5 percent early and 7.4 percent for the year so far.

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