Future Uncertain As J.C. Penney Shares Dip Below $1 For First Time

| December 29, 2018

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – With dipping stock prices, the future of the J.C. Penney retail chain seems uncertain going into the new year.

According to Yahoo Finance, while retail stocks from other industries staples, including Macy’s, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Kohl’s, rebounded the day after Christmas, J.C. Penney was left in the dust with its stocks plunging below $1.00 for the first time on record.

For the first time since J.C. Penney began trading in 1929, its stock fell 8% on Thursday, December 27, to close at 97 cents a share.

The most recent dip in the stock prices for the retail giant, in addition to the more than 40% decline in J.C. Penney’s stock since Jill Soltau took over as CEO in October, may be a signal that investors have lost confidence in her ability to lead the company away from the financial woes left behind by previous leadership.

Quarterly financials released by J.C. Penney show that same-store sales dropped 5.4% in the third quarter, and the decline in total cash since the store’s last peak in 2014 has continued, with net losses in four of the past five years.

Considering the company’s $4.2 billion in long-term debt, tallied against their third-quarter report of $168 million in cash, with $160 million coming due over the next two years – and, far larger sums of $437 million and $1.6 billion coming due in 2022 and 2023 respectively, as well as a junk credit rating during a time of rising interest rates. the outlook is not good.

With future prospects looking grim, additional store closures seem like a distinct possibility for the coming year, though none have been announced at this time.

In 2018, J.C. Penney closed eight of its retail stores, in Paramus, NJ; Galesburg, IL; Alexandria, MN; Bartlesville, OK; Burlington, WA; Calexico, CA; and Mt. Vernon, OH. In 2017, the list was far longer, with 138 stores closing permanently.

Locally, a J.C. Penney store in the Cranberry Mall in Seneca closed in 2016, and a J.C. Penney store located at the Clearfield Mall closed in 2017.

Currently, four J.C. Penney stores in the local region remain open in the following malls: Clarion Mall, Indiana Mall, DuBois Mall, and Clearview Mall in Butler.

ExploreVenango.com reached out to each of the remaining stores in the area, but the store managers from Clarion, Indiana, and DuBois were all unavailable, and the store manager in Butler declined to comment.

Calls to the J.C. Penney corporate office were not immediately returned.

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