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JCP net loss widened in Q1, comps down 16.6%

Plano, Texas - JCPenney's first quarter net loss swung to $348 million compared to a net loss of $163 million in the year-ago period, which marked the onset of former ceo Ron Johnson's transformation strategy.
Excluding charges related to restructuring, management payouts and pension plan expense, adjusted net loss for the quarter was $289 million.
Mike Ullman, who returned to the company as ceo after Johnson's ouster last month, said over the past five weeks the company has worked on stabilizing its business and improving its balance sheet.
"Our objective is to put JCPenney back on a path to profitable growth," he said.
Sales for the quarter ended May 4 fell 16.4% to $2.6 billion, with comps down 16.6%. The company said attributed the poor same-store sales performance to the ongoing remodel of the home department.
Gross margin fell to 30.8% of sales compared to 37.6% in last year's first quarter. Higher levels of clearance merchandise and the restoration of some promotional activity chewed into margin, the company said.

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