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J.C. Penney shines; beats department store doldrums


Home goods and Sephora helped J.C. Penney turn a page on the ongoing story of its story of transformation by exceeding top-line growth expectations in the third quarter.

For its third quarter ended Oct. 31, the company cut its loss by 27% to $137 million, or 45 cents a share. It reported net sales of $2.90 billion, compared to $2.76 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales increased 6.4%.

"The continuation of our strong sales performance this quarter demonstrates ongoing progress towards achieving the company's long-term financial targets," said Marvin Ellison, CEO. "We grew the top line, improved margin and intensified our expense discipline. As we look ahead to the fourth quarter, we are well positioned to compete effectively during the key holiday shopping period thanks to the hard work and dedication of all our associates."

Penney outshined department store retailers Macy's and Nordstrom, who both reported weak financial results this week. Ellison said the chain looking to continue its momentum into the busy holiday shopping season.

"We have not noticed any headwinds in terms of our customer demographic going into the fourth quarter," Ellison said.

Penney stores will open at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, an earlier opening than many of its competitors. Opening first was a decision that was made by a tenured group of store employees that call themselves “Warriors” and that corporate management taps often, Ellison said, the Dallas News reported.

For the third quarter, Penney said all merchandise divisions had positive comp sales gains over last year. Men's, home, footwear, handbags, and Sephora were among the company's top performing divisions.

Looking ahead to the full year, Penney reiterated its outlook for same store sales to increase 4% to 5%.

Ellison concluded: "While there is significant work to do to improve our company, the J.C. Penney team remains determined to regain our status as a world-class retailer."

J.C. Penney operates 1,020 stores and

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