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J.C. Penney cites improving sales in September; sees ample year-end liquidity


Plano, Texas -- J.C. Penney Co. on Tuesday said that it was making “solid progress” in its turnaround as it reported a smaller decline in same-store sales for September, compared to August. The company also said it expects that it will have ample liquidity at year end.

While Penney’s September same-store sales fell 4% over the same month last year, they showed an improvement of 580 basis points compared with August.

Penney said its online sales continue to trend double digits ahead of last year, and are up 18.6% in the third quarter to date. September sales on experienced 25.3% sales growth over the same period last year.

Departments performing better than average included women's and men's apparel, fine jewelry and women's accessories. Women's apparel, Penney's largest business, reported positive sales in September.

"Over the last six months, we have made significant strides and are now seeing positive signs in many important areas of the business, in spite of what continues to be a difficult environment for consumers and retailers in general," CEO Myron Ullman said in a statement. “While pleased with the improving trends and more predictable performance, we are still in the early stages of the turnaround and will maintain a relentless focus on achieving our long-term goals for the benefit of our customers, associates and shareholders."

The company reiterated that it would end the year with more than $2 billion in cash, after taking into account proceeds of $785 million from a recent stock sale.

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