JC Penney Falls Following Credit Suisse Estimates Cut

Department store operator J.C. Penney
will likely see second-quarter sales at a higher rate than the 20 percent witnessed during the first-quarter. According to
Market Watch
, the company has attempted to overhaul merchandising and pricing, but the efforts have failed to bring in the customers. In a report published on Tuesday, Credit Suisse analyst Michael Exstein doubled the second-quarter loss estimate from 19 cents to 38 cents per share. For the full year, Exstein's estimate fell to $1.07 of profit per share from $1.16. He wrote that, "A combination of poor messaging, tampering with the merchandise flow, and a slowing of the overall retail environment seem to have contributed to the current state of business." Meanwhile, the
Wall Street Journal
revealed Tuesday that J.C. Penney is cutting 350 more jobs at its headquarters, the final phase of its home-office restructuring. The company had already said that it would be cutting 600 of the 4,400 employees at its corporate headquarters. The WSJ reports that the cuts will be in in the areas of information technology, finance, product development and sourcing, or product procurement. None of those areas were affected by the first round of layoffs. "We have simplified processes, removed unnecessary work and reduced layers to help us make better and faster decisions," said CEO Ron Johnson in a statement. "While difficult, these decisions are in the long-term interests of [the company] and our stakeholders." On July 3,
Benzinga reported that J.C. Penney would be reverting to a policy
of hosting sales. The move was particularly surprising because CEO Ron Johnson, after joining the company in November, announced that he would be embarking on a new pricing strategy. Johnson had planned to avoid sales, instead focusing on consistent lower pricing. Some investors in J.C. Penney may have been alarmed by the recent drop in revenue. Johnson's "no sales" strategy has frequently been cited as the culprit--J.C. Penney's customers are used to coupons and the comforting feeling of big sales. In May, J.C. Penney announced disappointing first-quarter results. Following that report, Johnson made it clear that he would work to better explain the new pricing strategy. Whatever the company has tried, the report from Credit Suisse proves that it is not working. On Wednesday, J.C. Penney traded at about $20.70, down roughly 5.8 percent.
Follow me @BCallwood.
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Posted In: NewsGuidanceRetail SalesMarketsTrading IdeasCredit SuisseMichael ExsteinRon Johnson
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