J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP) Soars 20 Percent on Improved Q1 Results

The stock price of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) increased more than 20% to $10.09 per share during the extended hours trading after the beleaguered retailer reported improved financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) reported that its same store sales increased 6.2% with a sequential improvement every month during the quarter.  Its total net sales during the period were $2.8 billion compared with its $2.63 billion net sales in the same period a year ago.  Analysts forecasted $2.71 billion sales.

The retailer recorded net losses of $352 million or $1.15 losses per share compared with $348 million net losses or $1.58 losses per share in the same period last year.  Wall Street analysts estimated for J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) to incur $1.24 losses per share during the period.

In a statement, JC Penney CEO Mike Ullman said, “We are very pleased to report that JC Penney delivered its second consecutive quarter of comparable store sales growth, as well as continued gross margin improvement.”

He added, “It is clear that our efforts to re-merchandise many areas of the store and revamp our messaging to the customer are taking hold. Despite a difficult retail environment, our strong performance during the Easter holiday period and other key promotional events enabled us to deliver better than anticipated sales results. We expect to carry this momentum into the second quarter as we continue to position the company for long-term profitable growth.”

According to the company, its gross margin improved from 30.8% to 33.1%.  J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) said it increased its credit facility from $1.85 billion to $2.35 billion and extended its maturity to improve its liquidity position.

The retailer said, “This financing is expected to provide better pricing terms and is expected to add $500 million of incremental liquidity during peak seasonal needs.”

For the second quarter, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) forecasted that its comparable store sales will increase by mid-single digits and gross margin is expected to grow sequentially. In addition the retailer also expected its SG&A expenses to be slightly lower than last year and its depreciation and amortization is estimated to be around $155 million.