JC Penney saw a 3.9% comparable store sales increase for the Christmas period

JC Penney saw a 3.9% comparable store sales increase for the Christmas period

US department store retailer JC Penney has revealed "strong" Christmas sales thanks to digital sales and merchandise selection, and a focus on private brands.

Shares were up 2.9% in pre-market trading after the retail group announced a 3.9% comparable store sales increase for the nine-week November and December period. This was despite unseasonally warm weather that significantly impacted apparel sales across the company, CEO Marvin Ellison said.

Online sales were at record levels, the company said, as more customers took advantage of JC Penney's in-store pick-up option, which is now available at around 1,000 stores.

"Although we have much work to do, our strengthened omni-channel capabilities enabled our supply chain network to process millions of jcp.com orders this season, supported by 250 stores across the country that helped fulfill online orders using in-store inventory," said Ellison. "We look forward to capitalising on this digital progress through 2016."

The company, which will report its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2015 results on 26 February, reaffirmed its full-year adjusted EBITDA target of US$645m and plans to generate positive free cash flow in fiscal 2015.

In October last year, JC Penney announced plans to axe 300 jobs at its headquarters in Plano, Texas, in a move to help the business meet financial targets and improve productivity. 

JC Penney cuts 300 head office jobs