National Jeweler Network

Financial Reporting

J.C. Penney closes on $2B in new financing

By Brecken Branstrator

June 23, 2014

Plano, Texas--J.C. Penney Co. Inc. announced Monday that it has closed on a new $2.35 billion credit facility, a deal that hints at some confidence from the banks in a performance turnaround for the retailer.

The total senior secured credit facility is comprised of a $1.85 billion revolving line of credit and a $500 million term loan. It replaces an existing $1.85 billion credit facility, set to mature in April 2016, and provides better pricing terms than that facility.

Proceeds from the loan will be used to pay down cash borrowings from the previous one. Meanwhile, the revolving line of credit will be available for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Wells Fargo, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Barclays and Goldman Sachs led the arrangement of the credit facility.

“We proactively pursued this new facility to extend the maturity several years and further enhance our liquidity position, particularly during periods of peak working capital needs,” said J.C. Penney CFO Ed Record. “We are pleased with the improved pricing terms of this facility as well as the support and confidence from our banking partners.”

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The new financing suggests some confidence from the financial institutions in a turnaround for the retailer, which has in recent months seen same-store sales and total sales up, and could provide the company with more time to build upon the strategies it has put into place as well as develop new ones.

The store showed signs of stabilization when it reported its first quarter earnings in May, with same-store sales and total sales both increasing by 6 percent in a difficult retail environment. The retailer said fine jewelry was one of its best-selling categories.

Same-store sales also rose in the months before that, with comps increasing 2 percent in the fiscal fourth quarter ended Feb. 1 even as total sales fell.