When J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) reported its fiscal second-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Friday, the company said that it had a net loss per share of $0.05 and revenues of $2.92 billion. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters called for a net loss of $0.15 per share on revenue of $2.93 billion. In the same period of last year, the retailer posted a net loss of $0.41 per share on $2.88 billion in revenue.
In terms of the outlook for the 2016 full year, the company expects that comparable store sales will increase in the range of 3% to 4%, while earnings per share (EPS) will be positive. The consensus estimates for the full year are $0.03 in EPS on $12.81 billion in revenue.
For the second quarter, gross margin was 37.1% of sales, an improvement of 10 basis points from the same period last year.
Marvin R. Ellison, board chair and chief executive, commented on earnings:
We are pleased with the sequential improvement we achieved throughout the second quarter, and our solid performance across all key metrics is encouraging. We exceeded our profitability expectations, achieving an $85 million or 59 % increase in EBITDA to $229 million for the quarter. We are continuing to win market share and improve the bottom line of our business thanks to the commitment and hard work of our over 100,000 associates.
We are excited about the initiatives we have in place to drive incremental growth in the back half of the year with our appliance rollouts, new Sephora locations, center core refreshes, in-store .com fulfillment and our chain wide rollout of buy online, pick up in store same day. These and other initiatives reinforce our confidence in our ability to achieve $1 billion in EBITDA for 2016.
On the books, J.C. Penney’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $429 million at the end of the quarter, versus $973 million in the same period of last year.
Shares of J.C. Penney closed Thursday up 8.6% at $9.94, with a consensus analyst price target of $11.02 and a 52-week trading range of $6.00 to $11.99. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was up nearly 2.5% at $10.19 in early trading indications Friday.