In a snafu that one could argue was a well-designed PR ploy, iconic retailer J C Penney made a filing with the SEC on Tuesday reporting that sales were up a robust 6% so far this quarter. The firm was forced to make a public report with this information because a “senior executive” inadvertently passed the positive sales data onto an analyst in an email on Monday.
Details from J C Penney’s Tuesday SEC filing
The firm’s Tuesday SEC filing explains what happened. “On April 13, 2015, J C Penney Company, Inc. (the “Company”) became aware that a senior official of the Company inadvertently sent an e-mail communication to a securities analyst that contained non-public information regarding the Company’s comparable store sales results for the fiscal first quarter of 2015 to date, which are approximately 6 percent. Based on results to date, and taking into account the shift of Easter into the fiscal month of March this year, the Company currently expects comparable store sales for the first quarter to be in the range of 3.5 to 4.5 percent.”
The filing continued to note: “This Current Report on Form 8-K (this “Report”) is being furnished solely to satisfy the Company’s obligations under Regulation FD in light of the inadvertent disclosure.”
J C Penney moving ahead on the comeback trail
It’s taken several quarters now, but there are growing signs that J C Penney is finally returning to viability as a major retailer. Despite a number of missteps and restarts, including the disastrous tenure of former Apple exec Ron Johnson as CEO, the brand has managed to refurbish its image and attract more customers to both its brick-and-mortar stores and its online outlet.
The firm has opened a test store in Frisco, Texas where they work to fine tune new marketing and display methods.
As reported by ValueWalk earlier this year, an interesting part of Penney’s new marketing strategy has been the reintroduction of its print catalog this year. Catalog sales represented 15% of revenue in 2001. The new J C Penney catalog is a slimmed-down 150-page version that focuses on offerings from the Home department.