JC Penney forecast: Weaker sales and earnings per share for 2017

JC Penney Company plummets after issuing profit warning

J.C. Penney JCP, -21.17% updated its guidance after the company said inventory clearance, an effort to sell off "slow-moving" merchandise primarily across the women's apparel department, according to a statement from Chief Executive Marvin Ellison, gave sales a boost in September and October, but hurt cost of goods sold and earnings in the short-term.

J.C. Penney's problems continued despite the current economic environment that should lift the struggling business of the department store chain.

USA department store chain JC Penney's shares have fallen more than 20% in early trading after it cut its full-year profit outlook sharply.

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The grim forecast sent Penney's shares to a record low and weighed on its rivals Macy's Inc and Kohl's Corp, although at least one brokerage said the troubles seem to be specific to Penney and not across the sector. The clearance was during the back-to-school period, the second biggest sales period for retailers after the holiday season.

JCPenney shares were recently off 14.5 percent at $3.13.

However, for the quarter that ends tomorrow, the retailer forecasts that store sales will see a bump between 0.6% and 0.8%, largely due to stronger sales of large appliances. Penney now expects a Q3 loss of 40 cents to 45 cents per share, more than double previous estimates, as well as an increase in comparable store sales of between 0.6% and 0.8%.

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For the full year, the Plano, Texas company expects comparable sales to be down 1 percent or to be flat and for earnings to be an anemic 2 cents to 8 cents a share.

New CFO Jeffrey Davis will be taking on the responsibility of pricing and planning policies for the company to improve predictive analytics, something that Ellison has said for a long time would be a focus and that should already have been put into place.

J.C. Penney cut its full-year forecast for adjusted earnings to two cents to eight cents per share from 40 cents to 65 cents.

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