Colder weather and aggressive discounting have pushed JC Penney's October sales above expectations, prompting the department store operator to raise its third quarter earnings target.

In a recorded statement, the retailer said same-store October sales were well above its plan for 3-4 per cent growth. It forecast earnings of more than 21 cents per share for the third quarter ending in October. Analysts were expecting around 19 cents per share.

Shoes were among its best-selling categories in October.