NEW YORK — Boy, it just wasn’t J.C. Penney’s year.
The mid-priced department store chain on Wednesday reported another much larger-than-expected loss in the fiscal fourth quarter on a nearly 30 percent plunge in revenue in the latest sign that shoppers aren’t happy with the changes it’s made in the past year.
The results mark a full year of massive quarterly losses and revenue declines that miss Wall Street estimates since J.C. Penney Co. began a turnaround strategy that included ditching most of its coupons and sales events in favor of everyday low prices, bringing in hipper designer brands such as Betsy Johnson and remaking outdated stores.
The quarterly performance also puts additional pressure on CEO Ron Johnson, the former Apple executive who was brought in about a year ago to turn the stodgy retailer that was losing money into a hip and profitable company. In the past year since Johnson rolled out his plan, though, even once-loyal customers have strayed away from the 1,100-store chain.
Teresa Cansell, for instance, used to make the 45-mile trek from her farm near Leon, Kan., to a Penney store in Wichita about once a month. But since Penney started making changes last year, she’s only been twice. “I loved the old J.C. Penney. I liked the coupons,” Cansell, 53, said. “I used to go to Penney every time I got them in the mail. I would buy a ton of stuff.”
During the fourth quarter that ended Feb. 2, Penney’s revenue at stores opened at least a year dropped 31.7 percent. That’s on top of hefty drops in the previous three quarters.
Penney lost $552 million, or $2.51 per share, compared with a net loss of $87 million, or 41 cents per share in the year-ago period. Excluding charges related to restructuring and management changes, the company’s adjusted loss for the quarter was $427 million, or $1.95 per share. Total revenue dropped 28.4 percent to $3.88 billion.
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