Fourth quarter net income fell 5.2% to $200m

Fourth quarter net income fell 5.2% to $200m

US department store chain JC Penney saw its profits more than half during fiscal 2009, compared to the prior year, with a drop in sales offsetting margin improvements.

The retailer posted net income of US$251m for the twelve month period, compared with $572m during fiscal 2008, down 56.1%. Full-year sales decreased 5% compared to last year, while same-store sales fell 6.3%.

Fourth quarter net income fell 5.2% to $200m, and sales during the final quarter decreased 3.6% compared to last year. Same-store sales decreased 4.5%.

Myron Ullman, chairman and chief executive officer of JC Penney, said: "Our disciplined approach to inventory planning, promotions and SG&A served us well, particularly in the fourth quarter with a planned lower sales volume. As a result, we were able to achieve new peak gross margin levels for the year, which led to better-than-expected profitability and cash flow generation.

"With this strong foundation in place, our focus for fiscal 2010 is driving top-line growth. We intend to deliver positive comparable store sales and market share growth as we leverage our position as a destination for affordable style and create a sense of discovery and excitement for our customers."

Management’s 2010 guidance was for same-store sales to increase low single-digits, and to be flat to slightly positive during the first quarter.

The company's shares rose 6% following the earnings announcement, which was reportedly above analyst expectations.

Click here to view the company's full earnings release.