J.C. Penney Reports 12% Drop in Sales

Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP  ) shares were up more than 6% in midday Tuesday trading, despite reporting fiscal Q2 2013 earnings news in the morning that was anything but positive.

Sales in the quarter dropped 12% in comparison to last year's Q2, to $2.66 billion. Losses amounted to $2.66 per share. In each case, J.C. Penney fell far short of Wall Street's expectations, which had been for a mere $1.06-per-share loss, and $2.76 billion in sales.

Adjusted for "the impact from the loss on retirement of debt, restructuring and management transition charges, primary pension plan expense, and the net gain on the sale of a non-operating asset," J.C. Penney estimated its pro forma earnings loss at $2.16 per share, still significantly worse than had been expected.

Returned CEO Myron Ullman, commented on the results in a company statement: "Since I returned to jcpenney four months ago, we have moved quickly to stabilize our business -- both financially and operationally -- and we have made meaningful progress in important areas of the business. There are no quick fixes to correct the errors of the past. That said, we have identified the challenges, put solid plans in place to address them and have experienced and capable people in key roles to do so."

As of this writing, J.C. Penney shares are up 6.8%, at $14.12 per share.

Today's results mark the sixth straight quarter of big losses and steep revenue drops for the retailer. While Penney said Tuesday it feels encouraged by back-to-school sales, the report offered few signs of a turnaround as the retailer heads into the final months of the year.

Even the "home" area has failed to resonate with shoppers. Penney said today that early feedback from customers made it clear that they want a more balanced assortment of trendy and traditional merchandise.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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