Comparable store sales rose 2% over the quarter

Comparable store sales rose 2% over the quarter

US department store retailer JC Penney has recorded its first quarterly comparable store sales increase since the second quarter of 2011.

The company, which has been striving to turn its fortunes around, said comparable store sales rose 2% during the three months to the end of December. Online sales, meanwhile, jumped 26.3% year-on-year. 

Over the November and December holiday period, comparable store sales grew 3.1%, with a "solid" performance in activewear, sweaters, outerwear, dresses, boots, men's clothing, luggage, beauty, and housewares.

The company said it ended the 2013 fiscal year more than $2bn in liquidity.

"While 2013 brought a lot of change and challenges to JC Penney, the steady improvements in our business show that the company's turnaround is on track," said CEO Mike Ullman.

"In spite of the significant headwinds facing all retailers this season, including unprecedented harsh weather conditions in many parts of the country, we delivered on our promise to generate positive comparable store sales growth in the fourth quarter."

He noted that the retailer is encouraged by its results, adding "we remain steadfast in our focus to build on these achievements and return to profitable growth".

JC Penney's share price fell 10.7% to US$5.08 at the close of trading yesterday (4 February).