J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) today announced financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended May 5, 2018. Marvin R. Ellison, chairman and chief executive officer said, "During the first quarter, we achieved a positive sales comp of 0.2 %, which was impacted in large part by a very late start to Spring where we experienced cooler than normal temperatures in April. Although our overall top line sales results came in below our expectations for the quarter, we were encouraged by the strong positive comp performance throughout February and March, as well as the last two weeks of April, when temperatures began to normalize."
Ellison continued, "Overall, we believe that our strategies are beginning to take hold, as we are seeing improvement in a number of areas. Apparel categories performed well during seasonable weather periods, and our beauty and home refresh initiatives performed well above our total comp sales performance for the quarter. The strength in sales performance early in the quarter, our investments in enhancing our apparel categories, continued strength in our beauty and home refresh initiatives and a focus on taking market share from ailing retailers all give us confidence in our annual comp sales guidance of flat to up 2%. Our teams remain committed to improving our core apparel business and executing on our strategic growth initiatives. I would like to thank our nearly 100,000 associates around our company for their hard work and commitment to JCPenney."
For the first quarter ended May 5, 2018, total net sales decreased 4.3 % to $2.58 billion compared to $2.70 billion for the first quarter ended Apr. 29, 2017. The decline in total net sales was primarily the result of the 141 stores that closed in the second and third quarters of fiscal 2017.