Unit sales of print books rose 3% in the week ended December 17, 2017, over the comparable period in 2016, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Last week was the first week that print unit sales were up over the comparable week in 2016 since the holiday selling season began during Thanksgiving week. The retail and club channel, which includes all bookstores plus Amazon, had a 5% increase in sales over the week ended December 18, 201, and with two weeks left to go in 2017, sales through that channel were up 3%. The mass merchandiser channel, however, continued to trend downward compared to last year. Last week, unit sales to mass merchandisers were down 9% compared to the similar week in 2016, and for the year to date, sales fell 8%. Click Read More below for additional information.
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) announced today that its comparable store sales for the combined nine-week period ending Jan. 5, 2019 decreased 3.5 % on a shifted basis. On an unshifted basis, comparable sales decreased 5.4 %.
The Company also reaffirmed its expectations to generate positive free cash flow in fiscal 2018, reduce inventory in excess of $225 million or 8% and expects to end the year with liquidity in excess of $2 billion.
Additionally, JCPenney will initiate three preliminary store closings this spring as part of an ongoing evaluation of its store portfolio occurring over the next few months, which includes assessing locations that may not meet required financial targets or represent a market opportunity to capitalize on a beneficial real estate asset. Further information related to future store closings will be shared on Feb. 28 when the Company reports its fourth quarter and fiscal 2018 results.