JC Penney’s Resurrection

While earnings season has been less than kind to the other big players in the department store space – Kohl’s, Macy’s and Sears top the list – JC Penney has pulled off something of a turnaround.

Apparently undaunted by unseasonable warmth, same-store sales bounced up 4.1 percent during the holiday season – which foreshadows nicely the 3-4 percent jump the retailer is forecasting for the entire year of 2016.

Investors, needless to say, are happy and sent JCP shares up 15 percent Friday and then another 6 percent on Monday, which means the once struggling store has recovered 50 percent of its stock price and is now trading at its highest level since 2014.

The firm has also moved to re-expand their inventory and promotional efforts with things like “Penney Day” promotions when select items literally cost about a cent. They have also re-introduced appliances to their sales floor.

“We’re trying something different. We’re actually listening to the customers,” their CEO Marvin Ellison quipped.

Ellison also noted during the call that the firm’s previous marketing efforts were dated and needed a modern reboot.

“As we all know, that’s a more efficient way to communicate and it’s less costly than traditional print or TV,” Ellison said.

JCP still has a long haul to get back to where it once was, but The Street is more optimistic than it has been in a while and notes the firm could be profitable again by 2017.


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