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JC Penney yanks earnings outlook because of coronavirus

Shoppers sit outside of a J.C. Penney store at the Westfield Mall in Culver City, California.

Martina Albertazzi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

J.C. Penney has withdrawn its earnings outlook due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

The department store chain announced Friday morning that it is not providing an updated outlook at this time.

Earlier in the week, on Wednesday, Penney said it would close all of its stores across the country until April 2, at least, to try to help halt the spread of the new coronavirus. It did not clarify whether or not it would be paying workers during this time. A spokesperson declined to comment.

Penney is also postponing its analyst day, which had been set for April 7, until future notice.

Penney “believes it is in the best interest of its customers, stockholders, partners and associates to remain focused solely on the operations of the business,” it said in an SEC filing.

Penney’s announcement comes after Kohl’s on Thursday evening announced it has withdrawn its earnings outlook for the current quarter and fiscal year, as it grapples with the hit it will take from the pandemic.

Kohl’s also said that it has fully drawn its $1 billion unsecured credit facility to increase its cash position and “preserve its financial flexibility,” in the midst of so much uncertainty.

America’s department store chains join a growing list of retailers taking similar measures to try to preserve their businesses, as thousands of stores across the U.S., including entire malls, have temporarily gone dark.

NordstromAbercrombie & Fitch and L Brands are among the names that have withdrawn their outlooks, unclear what the future will hold.

Penney shares, which trade below $1, were down more than 2% Friday morning. It has a market cap of about $150.4 million. Penney’s stock is down more than 55% this year. 

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