JC Penney stock sinks, extending gloomy week for retailers – Orange County Register

Sales at established J.C. Penney stores faded again during its most recent quarter, capping a gloomy week for U.S. retailers.

Penney’s stock sunk below $4 Friday morning, an all-time low for the 115-year-old retailer.

Another quarter of falling same-store sales from J.C. Penney Co. come a day after similar reports from Macy’s, Kohl’s and Dillard’s, as people increasingly avoid malls and shop online or at discount retailers. Nordstrom stood alone, reporting that its same-store sales rose in the most recent quarter, when it held its annual anniversary sale.

At established Penney stores, sales fell 1.3 percent during the second quarter. It was the fourth straight quarter of declines for Penney, and it was worse than the 1.2 percent drop that Wall Street analysts expected, according to FactSet.

Penney said its results were hurt by the closing of about 130 stores during the quarter.

“We’ve never liquidated this many stores at one time,” said CEO Marvin Ellison, during a conference call Friday.

Penney, which has about 875 stores left, is making a number of moves to try and reverse its fortunes. Earlier in the year, retailer said it would cut some 6,000 jobs and shutter 140 stores nationwide, including its location at the Village at Orange mall.

The company, which started to sell appliances again last year, said it signed a new deal to sell Electrolux and Frigidaire products.

Ellison said he wasn’t concerned about Amazon’s plans to sell Kenmore appliances on its site, a deal Sears Holdings Corp. announced last month. He said Penney customers want to “physically touch” appliances before making the pricey purchases. On Thursday, Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette had left open the possibility of expanding into appliances and other categories to be more of a one-stop shop.

In Orange County, the company sold its West Coast distribution center in Buena Park to Oak Brook, Ill.-based CenterPoint Properties for $131.3 million. The move was part of “an effort to monetize a lucrative real estate asset.” The company plans to shift distribution to the Inland Empire.

Ellison said back-to-school sales were off to a “good start,” echoing similar comments from executives at Macy’s and Kohl’s on Thursday. To get shoppers to spend more, Penney added toy sections in more stores in time for the back-to-school season after testing them last year. And the company hopes more young shoppers will visit the Sephora makeup shops inside Penney’s 600…

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