J.C. Penney: $850 Million Borrowed to Shore Up Inventory


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J.C. Penney today announced that it has borrowed $850 million from a revolving credit fund of $1.85 billion. The company stated that the money will be used to ensure the company's liquidity and replenish inventory levels.

"Earlier this year, we increased our revolving credit facility in anticipation of operating, working capital and capital expenditure needs, especially during the first half of the year," said Ken Hannah, CFO for J.C. Penney. "As we near completion of the home department transformation in over 500 stores, we have been undertaking and will continue to experience a significant inventory build and increase in capital expenditures."

J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson stepped down last week after just over one year with the company. Johnson had attempted to move the retail company away from the modern department store strategies of constant sales and coupons. The strategy did not succeed, and J.C. Penney stock and revenue fell while debt rose. The company is now estimated to be more than $3.5 billion in debt.

"While jcpenney has faced a difficult period, its legacy as a leader in American retailing is an asset that can be built upon and leveraged," said Mike Ullman, who replaced Johnson as acting CEO. "To that end, my plan is to immediately engage with the Company's customers, team members, vendors and shareholders, to understand their needs, views and insights. With that knowledge, I will work with the leadership team and the Board to develop and clearly articulate a game plan to establish a foundation for future success."

J.C. Penney's pricing strategy has already begun to shift. The retailer is issuing coupons, and clothing prices are expected to rise in preparation for sales.