J.C. Penney Reports Sales Improvement, Jewelry and Apparel Top Performers

Battered by a slew of negative headlines, J.C. Penney announced Tuesday that its sales have continued the recent “improving trend”—with jewelry among the best-performing categories.

Fine jewelry, apparel, and women’s accessories “are all performing better than the company average,” according to a statement from the retailer. It added that women’s apparel, Penney’s largest business, showed positive sales for September.

Overall, though, any improvement seems limited. Penney’s statement said September comp store sales were down 4 percent from 2012 figures—only an improvement considering the double-digit comp declines the company had been posting.

More hopeful are results from the company’s e-commerce site: Sales on jcp.com rose 25.3 percent in September over last year, and 10.8 percent in August.

J.C. Penney’s statement also noted that “customer service scores are at all-time highs.” 

In addition, the retailer expects year-end liquidity to be more than $2 billion, taking into account its recent stock sale. The company also “remains current in payments to vendors,” according to the statement.

“Over the last six months, we have made significant strides and are now seeing positive signs in many important areas of the business,” Penney CEO Myron Ullman said in the statement. 

But Ullman warned: “While pleased with the improving trends and more predictable performance, we are still in the early stages of the turnaround.”

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JCK News Director