Following six months of management upheaval, including the ouster of CEO Ron Johnson in April after only a year at the helm and the resignation of board member Bill Ackman in August, J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) today announced same-store sales results in September that were down 4% compared to September 2012. Sequentially, J.C. Penney saw a 5.8% improvement in same-store sales from August 2013's results.
After stepping down from the board, Ackman subsequently sold his entire ownership stake in the department store chain, which had amounted to 18% of the company's outstanding shares.
Inventory problems continue to plague the retailer's gross margin as clearance items are marked down to make room for new merchandise in time for the all-important holiday shopping season, J.C. Penney said.
On a positive note, J.C. Penney said jcp.com experienced a 25.3% jump in online sales compared to September 2012, and women's clothing, its largest business line, reported "positive sales for the month of September."
Penney said that it expects to see improving sales trends for the remainder of the year. Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes the potentially distorting effect of results from stores recently opened or closed.
CEO Myron Ullman said in the statement that "we are still in the early stages of the turnaround and will maintain a relentless focus on achieving our long-term goals for the benefit of our customers, associates and shareholders."
J.C. Penney also noted in its statement that following last week's 84 million-share public offering, in which it netted an estimated $785 million, it has more than $2 billion in ready cash, which includes its existing credit facility.
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article contained an incorrect figure for sequential improvement in same-store sales for September.
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