Chief executive of US department store operator JC Penney, Myron Ullman, says the company is to turn its focus to mid-income shoppers who are forming an available market niche due to mergers among its market rivals.

Ullman said that the recently combined Kmart and Sears will spend years "trying to figure out how to execute whatever they're planning to be", and probably end up as more of a value retailer, according to a report in the Associated Press.

Forthcoming business mergers and uncertainly elsewhere may also mean changes that drive consumers to turn to other retailers.

Ullman, who was elected chairman and chief executive officer of Penney in December, has neither confirmed nor denied reports that talks over a potential sale of the business have been held.

Penney is in the middle of an ongoing turnaround that has involved shutting 100 department store units, refurbishing some stores, and opening ten new stores outside of mall units.