J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Nov 15, 2019 • 08:30 am ET
Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Q3 2019 JCPenney Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and instructions will follow at that time. [Operator Instructions]
I would now like to turn the conference call to Ms. Kelley Buchhorn. You may begin.
Thank you, Kevin and good morning, everyone. As a reminder, the presentation this morning 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-Q and other SEC filings. 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 November 15, 2019, please note that this presentation will not be updated and it is possible that the information discussed will no longer be current.
Also supplemental reference slides are available on our Investor Relations website. While management will not be speaking directly to all the slides presented, these slides are meant to facilitate your review of the company's results and to be used as a reference document following the call.
Joining us on today's call are Jill Soltau, Chief Executive Officer of JCPenney and Bill Wafford, our Chief Financial Officer. Following our prepared remarks, we look forward to taking your questions.
With that, I will now like to turn the call over to Jill.
Thank you, Kelley, and good morning. The past quarter was an exciting and energizing time at JCPenney. As you saw in our release this morning, we increased our adjusted EBITDA expectations and reaffirmed all other financial guidance metrics for full-year 2019. We delivered meaningful growth margin improvement this quarter, driven in large part by increased enterprise selling margins, improved shrink results and the exit earlier in the year of major appliance and in-store furniture categories.
Inventory levels were down 9% at the end of the quarter and down 14% when compared to the end of the third quarter 2017, reflecting our continued discipline and commitment to improve inventory management and productivity. This was our plan and we are pleased with the results. Bill will cover our financials but before we do that, I want to provide further detail on our strategy to return JCPenney to sustainable, profitable growth.
On our call last quarter, I referenced our focus on renewing the business. While I'm pleased with our continued progress on inventory management, gross margin improvement and adjusted EBITDA, we are laser-focused on our plan for renewal. Today, I would like to share the five components of that plan. Coupled with our deep understanding of the customer, these components guide everything we