Through Easter, the Plano, Texas-based company says sales are "well below expectations," and it now expects to turn in low-double digit comparable-store sales decline for March and a high-single digit decline for the first quarter.
"Consumer confidence is at a multi-year low," the company says. "JCPenney counts half of American families as its customers, and they are feeling macroeconomic pressures from many areas, including higher energy costs, deteriorating employment trends and significant issues in the housing and credit markets. The sharp decline in sales is reflective of these trends. While the economic stimulus package may provide some temporary benefit, we expect the continuation of a difficult environment over the course of 2008."