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JC Penny's Sales Turn Around Sparks Surge In Stock Price

While most analysts interest in embattled retailer JC Penny's was limited to wondering who would write the best obituary when the ailing former-giant finally collapse, the company did something rather surprising in the first quarter of 2014. It turned its sales around.

Same-store sales were up 6.2 percent in the three months that ended on May 3, which came out ahead of company forecasts 3-5 percent growth. Sales on the whole were $2.8bn, up $200 million the $2.6bn reported in Q1 2013.

“Our strong performance during the Easter holiday period and other key promotional events enabled us to deliver better than expected results,” said JC Penny CEO Mike Ullman in a released statement. “We see this first quarter as a very positive step in the right direction.”

Ullman took over the helm and JC Penny in 2013, replacing former Apple executive Ron Johnson. Ullman's strategy to lure sales back to JC Penny include reversing many of Johnson's innovations- including bringing back discounts and re-introducing brands that appeal to middle-income consumers.

Ullman also intends to continue the policy of closing brick-and-mortar locations in favor of an online focus. Online sales were up 26 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

The uptick in sales spurred investor confidence in after-hour trading. Stocks jumped as much as 27 per cent on the release of the sales data.

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