J. C. Penney Company, Inc. today announced fourth quarter results consistent with the Company's most recent guidance. For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, 2012, jcpenney reported a net loss of $87 million, or $0.41 per share. As previously announced, this reported loss includes restructuring and management transition charges which totaled $0.56 per share, as well as the financial impact of actions taken to execute the Company's new pricing and promotional strategy, which lowered fourth quarter earnings by an additional $0.59 per share. The Company took these strategic actions in the fourth quarter of 2011 to position jcpenney to begin operating under the new, simplified strategy on Feb. 1, 2012 – the first day of its transformation.
Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter declined 1.8 percent. Total sales decreased 4.9 percent, reflecting the Company's previous exit from its catalog and catalog outlet businesses. Internet sales through jcp.com were $480 million in the fourth quarter, decreasing 3.1 percent from last year.
Gross margin decreased $506 million compared with last year's fourth quarter. As a percent of sales, gross margin in the fourth quarter decreased approximately 740 basis points to 30.2 percent, compared to 37.6 percent in the same period last year.
For 2011, comparable store sales increased 0.2 percent. Total sales decreased 2.8 percent for the year. Internet sales through jcp.com remained essentially flat at $1.5 billion.
For the year, the Company's gross margin decreased $742 million from last year. As a percent of sales, gross margin decreased 320 basis points to 36.0 percent when compared to last year. For the year, SG&A dollars decreased $249 million or 4.6 percent.
The Company reported an operating loss for the full year of $2 million, which includes $451 million of restructuring and management transition charges. Excluding restructuring and management transition charges and the non-cash qualified pension plan expense of $87 million for the year; adjusted operating income was $536 million.