After an earlier torrent, Penney’s web sales only trickle in for Q3

November 14, 2014 02:09 PM

The web turnaround continues at J.C. Penney Co. Inc., but efforts stalled in the third quarter.

For the third quarter ended Nov.1, J.C. Penney reported:

  • E-commerce sales grew 3.4% to $275 million from $266 million in the third quarter of 2013. In comparison for the second quarter ended Aug. 2 , e-commerce grew 16.7% to $249 million.
  • Total sales decreased 0.5% to $2.764 billion from $2.779 billion.
  • Comparable-store sales were flat.
  • Net loss was $188 million compared with $489 million in the third quarter of 2013.
  • The web accounted for 10% of total sales in Q3 compared with 9.6% in the prior year.

J.C. Penney continues to rebuild its web channel, but the process is ongoing, outgoing CEO Myron Ullman told Wall Street analysts on the third quarter earnings call. “We’re kind of rebuilding the face of dotcom right now,” Ullman told analysts. “We don’t think we have the offer we ultimately will have online.”

J.C. Penney blames weather issues and slower consumer spending for flat store sales and only moderate growth online. But J.C. Penney, No. 37 in the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide continues to rebuild its e-commerce program and add new features, Ullman said. One new feature online Penney will roll out in early 2015 is same-day pick-up for its buy online and pick-up in store program, at 250 to 350 stores. The retailer also launched a new version of its mobile app for iPhones, but offered only limited details.

“We recently introduced a new and improved iPhone app that provides our customers an enhanced mobile shopping experience,” Ullman told analysts. “Along with faster browsing and easier access to coupons, the key new feature is really for customers to scan the bar code of an item in the store to quickly find its availability on”

Web sales grew only modestly in the third quarter, but have been on a healthy growth rate during the year, the company says. “Total online sales through grew 3.4% and this was on top of a 29.8% increase in the third quarter last year giving us an approximately 33% two-year stack online,” Ullman told analysts.

For the first three quarters:

  • E-commerce sales grew 14.5% to $796.8 million from $696 million in the first three quarters of 2013.
  • Total sales decreased 3.6% to $8.364 billion from $8.077 billion.
  • Net loss was $712 million compared with $1.42 billion in the first three quarters of 2013.
  • The web accounted for 9.5% of total sales in Q3 compared with 8.6% in the prior year.

“We have plenty of opportunity to continue to improve our experience and performance online,” Ullman said.

In October Penney announced Marvin Ellison, executive vice president of stores at The Home Depot Inc., will succeed Myron E. “Mike” Ullman as CEO. Ullman will become executive chairman of the board for a year. Ellison officially joined the retailer Nov. 1 as president and CEO-designee but does not take on the official CEO role until August.






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