J.C. Penney and Kohl’s gave investors reason to worry
after their first quarter earnings highlighted the
competitive challenges and shifting trends facing
department store operators.
Kohl’s stock suffered its worst loss in over two years,
plunging 12% to a 17-month low. J.C. Penny fell 7%.
Penney reported a surprisingly wide loss on lower
sales during the first quarter. Kohl’s cut its fiscal 2020
profit outlook as it struggled with slumping sales.
The chains’ reports contrasted sharply with rival
Macy’s, which smashed Wall Street estimates last week
and reported an increase in a key sales measure.
Increasing competition from off-price retailers like T.J.
Maxx and online shopping hubs like Amazon have forced
the industry’s biggest players to try reinventing
themselves. They’ve expanded online services and
become more selective about which products they sell.