JC Penney Has ‘Terrible’ Q4, Retailer Stuck In ‘Poor Showing’ Slump

Retailer JC Penney has some bad news about the final quarter of 2012, and, it seems so far, 2013 isn’t looking too good either.

JC Penney has suffered a series of poor planning gambles, it would appear, with sales plummeting following an ill-fated battle royale with America’s beloved coupon culture.

The New York Times was one of several outlets to cover JC Penney’s most recent troubles, describing how the mall retailer clocked some heartily dismaying numbers in its most recent reports and saying:

“It is hard to call J.C. Penney’s latest quarterly report anything but breathtakingly bad. The retailer lost $552 million for the quarter, which at $1.95 a share on an adjusted basis far exceeded the 17-cent loss that analysts had been expecting. Same-store sales tumbled nearly 32 percent from the period a year earlier … Shares in the company were down nearly 9 percent in after-hours trading.”

JC Penney’s coupon saga may be only part of the issue faced by the retailer, and a Forbes contributor opines that the department store has lost much of its identity in a bid to snare new markets, writing:

“In a recent JC Penney marketing circular inserted in the New York Times, the company highlighted some fashions that will soon be in stores. Prominently showcased were dresses designed by Georgina Chapman of Marchesa for fast living floozies.”

The writer continues:

“On the next page was matching lingerie by Cosabella Amore. This was followed by L’Amour by Nanette Lepore, apparel that will not be tolerated in any high school. It is only when we get to Joe Fresh, that we see any representation of modest and conservative fashion—the type the old JC Penney customer bought.”

JC Penney Testing Less Sales Strategy

While it is unlikely JC Penney ever attempted to dig in to the “floozy” demographic, the observation may be sort of on point in that, who exactly is JC Penney’s target customer now?

It’s not exactly clear where the brand plans to go from here, but it seems JC Penney is stuck in a pretty steep dive.