Q4 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/26/2014

Operator: Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the JCPenney Company Earnings Conference Call. My name is Sylvia and I will be your operator for today. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. Later, we will facilitate a question-and-answer session. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes.

I would now like to turn the conference over to your host for today, Kristin Hays. Please proceed.

Kristin Hays - SVP, Communications: Thank you. Good afternoon everyone. As a reminder, the presentation this afternoon includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which reflects the Company's current view of future events and financial performance.

The words expect, plan, anticipate, believe, and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and the Company's future results of operations could differ materially from historical results or current expectations. For more details on these risks, please refer to the Company's Form 10-K and other SEC filings.

Also, please note that no portion of this presentation may be rebroadcast in any form without the prior written consent of JCPenney. For those listening after February 26, 2014 please note that this presentation will not be updated and it is possible that the information discussed will no longer be current.

With that, I will now turn the call over to our CEO, Mike Ullman.

Myron E. Ullman, III - Chairman and CEO: Good afternoon and thank you all for joining us today. I am here with Chief Financial Officer Ken Hannah and we are glad to be with you.

Today we will update you on the status of J. C. Penney's turnaround, take you through our fourth quarter and full-year results and then discuss some of our expectations for the next phase in the turnaround in 2014. Following that, we'll look forward to answering your questions.

Let me start by saying, I'm extremely proud of the Company and its 116,000 associates who are working extremely hard to restore J. C. Penny to its rightful place in retail. We know it isn’t always easy, but we are well on our way. When I returned to J. C. Penny last April, the management team and I identified a variety of things that needed to be fixed in order to turn this Company around and reposition us for profitable growth. We also realized this turnaround would come in three phases; the immediate stabilization phase, followed by a phase of rebuilding and then the go-forward phase to position J. C. Penny for long-term growth.

Over the last 10 months, we have completed the first two phases of our turnaround in a very tough and highly competitive environment, and this year, we're progressing through the go-forward phase.

Before we set out our priorities for 2014, I'd like to take a few moments to discuss the accomplishments in the first two phases of the Company's turnaround.

First, we knew we had to stabilize the business financially and operationally. Over the first several months, we reinforced our relations with key domestic and internationally suppliers and we met with leaders across the enterprise and shared our turnaround priorities. This worked to restore calm and clarity of purpose within the Company and our supplier markets.

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