JCPenney Earnings: Still Terrible, But We’re Used to It

by Alyssa Oursler | August 20, 2013 9:42 am

Surprise, surprise. JCPenney (JCP[1]) just releases its second-quarter numbers … and the results are best described as brutally bad. A quick recap of JCPenney earnings:

JCP still is trying to reverse the killer no-sales policy that sent customers away in droves under the reign of former Apple (AAPL[2]) star Ron Johnson. But it’s doing so by apparently going to the opposite extreme … which means slicing away margins. The ugly same-store sales reported in the JCPenney earnings announcement, for example, were blamed on “failed prior merchandising and promotional strategies, which resulted in unusually high markdowns and clearance levels in the second quarter.”

Finding the middle ground on the sale spectrum is no easy task, of course — especially when even big names like Macy’s (M[3]) and Walmart (WMT[4]) are complaining about slow consumer spending[5].

And as CEO Mike Ullman explained, “There are no quick fixes to correct the errors of the past.”

That’s for sure. It took retailer Gap (GPS[6]) more than a decade to get back to its glory days after a similar fall from grace. Meanwhile, in the press release[7], JCP’s list of things to fix — including refined marketing, restoring merchandise inventory levels and improved performance of the website — was just as long as its quarterly results.

Then again, if you fall far enough, it doesn’t take much for your stock to soar again[8] — just consider the 73% one-year climb of unprofitable Pacific Sunwear (PSUN[9]), which still is trading at a fraction of its mid-aughts peak.

That’s probably why hedge-fund managers like George Soros[10] and Kyle Bass[11] believe in the struggling retailer’s turnaround story — or at least in some upside from JCP’s 12-month, 45% faceplant.

And, of course, that’s probably why the stock opened up by about 6% despite the fact that JCPenney earnings, in a vacuum, should have sent investors running screaming toward the exits.

As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

  1. JCP:
  2. AAPL:
  3. M:
  4. WMT:
  5. slow consumer spending:
  6. GPS:
  7. in the press release:
  8. for your stock to soar again:
  9. PSUN:
  10. George Soros:
  11. Kyle Bass:

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