J.C. Penney sales increase (finally)

J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) has finally returned to some semblence of profitability, announcing the retailer's first same-store sales increase since 2011.

J.C. Penney on Tuesday said same-store sales rose 3.1 percent during the fourth quarter which includes the key November-December holiday period. For the fiscal fourth quarter, the company posted a 2 percent gain in comp sales, which marks the first positive quarterly sales result since early 2011.

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

This update was a sigh of relief for many investors who feared the worst after J.C. Penney released a vague statement about holiday performance on Jan. 8.

J.C. Penney reported today that the company is pleased with its performance for the holiday period, showing continued progress in its turnaround efforts. Customers responded well to the company's offerings this holiday shopping season, both in store and online, the company said in that statement. 

The quarterly update is a bright spot for the struggling retailer which has seen declining sales over the years. Other good news for the company is a growing online presence. J.C. Penney said online sales at jcp.com increased 26.3 percent from last year. Several other departments did well during the holiday season including the company's Sephora boutiques, activewear, sweaters, outerwear, dresses, boots, men's clothing, luggage and housewares. 

J. C. Penney will report results for the fourth quarter that ended Feb. 1 on Feb. 26.

For more:
-See this J.C. Penney press release

Related stories:
J.C. Penney to close 33 Stores, slash 2,000 jobs
J.C. Penney comp-store sales rise 10% in November
J.C. Penney's Q3 loss wider than expected as sales fall
J.C. Penney reports first monthly sales increase since 2011
J.C. Penney's calls it quits with Martha Stewart

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