The red ink flowed at J.C. Penney Co. Inc. in the first quarter, but chief executive officer Myron “Mike” Ullman 3rd is focusing on the future.
“We’re looking forward, not back,” Ullman said on a conference call with analysts.
Penney’s net losses widened to $348 million, or $1.58 a share, from $163 million, or 75 cents, a year earlier. Excluding restructuring and management transition charges and other items, losses tallied $1.31 a share and were much steeper than the 86 cents Wall Street analysts projected on average.
Sales for the three months ended May 4 fell 16.4 percent to $2.64 billion from $3.15 billion.
Penney’s burnt through $948 million in free cash flow during the quarter as it rolled out over 500 revamped home goods shops and made catch-up payments to vendors.
Ullman was careful not to get ahead of himself as he talked about Penney’s path forward after former ceo Ron Johnson’s efforts to cut price promotions and create a series of shops-in-shop fell flat and drove the company to losses of nearly $1 billion last year.
“We need to make a connection with the customer in a way that is meaningful as well as enduring,” Ullman said. “We are really listening to the customer and putting her first in everything we do. We need to get the right merchandise into the right place in the right time.”
Ullman is reemphasizing Penney’s private brands, such as St. John’s Bay, and looking to ramp up promotional marketing around key shopping periods. He is also bringing jcp.com back to the fore, working to better integrate the firm’s e-commerce business with the stores.
“We believe we can put J.C. Penney back on the pathway to profitable growth,” Ullman said, without being specific as to just when the company would get back into the black.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast