November 9, 2012, 11:09 AM

Web sales drop 37% for Penney in Q3

The Internet accounts for 7.3% of all sales, down from 8.5% in the prior year.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Lead Photo

Through nine months, web sales declined year over year about 32.2%.

It was another tough three months for J.C. Penney Co. Inc. online and everywhere else in the third quarter.

For the quarter ended Oct. 27, J.C. Penney, No. 20 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500, reported:

  • Web sales dropped year over year about 37.2% to $214 million from $341 million.
  • Total sales declined 26.8% to $2.92 billion from $3.99 billion in the third quarter of 2011.
  • Comparable-store sales decreased 26.1%.
  • Net loss was $123 million compared with a net loss of $143 million in the third quarter of 2011.

The web accounted for 7.3% of total sales compared with 8.5% in the prior year.

“Today, Penney is really a tale of two companies and by far the largest part of our store is the old Penney, which continues to struggle and experience significant challenges as evidenced by our third quarter results,” says CEO Ron Johnson. “However, the new Penney centered on the shop concept, is gaining traction with customers every day and is surpassing our own expectations in terms of sales productivity.”

In January Penney began implementing a new strategy–The Shops–designed long-term to transfer J.C. Penney into a specialty department store online and in its stores. The strategy includes permanent discounts and specific marketing and merchandising programs on apparel such as jeans and brands like Liz Claiborne. “While the quarter overall was challenging, the performance of new brands and shops reinforces our conviction to transform Penney,” Johnson says.

But any long-term transformation has yet to help Penney improve its immediate financial performance.

For the first nine months:

  • Web sales dropped year over year about 32.2% to $705 million from $1.04 billion.
  • Total sales declined 23.1% to $9.10 billion from $11.83 billion in the first three quarters of 2011.
  • Net loss was $433 million compared with a net loss of $65 million in the first three quarters of 2011.

The web accounted for 7.7% of total sales compared with 8.8% in the prior year.

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