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Why J.C. Penney Stock Tumbled

By Jeremy Bowman – Feb 4, 2014 at 9:20PM

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Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our thesis.

What: Shares of J.C. Penney (JCPN.Q) skidded once again, falling as much as 14% and finishing down 11% after an update on its fourth quarter.

So what: The struggling retailer said that comparable sales for the November/December period, considered to be the holiday season, improved only 3.1%. While that result may be better than it is for many retailers, it follows a year when Penney's comps declined nearly 30%. With the company putting up massive losses over the past two years on a botched turnaround, the retailers will see much stronger same-store sales growth if it's going to see profits again.

Now what: It's more of the same for J.C. Penney. The retailer has looked broken since Ron Johnson tinkered with the already-flatlining brand in 2012, and, even though the stock has momentary rebounds, over the long run it always seems to fall. In this cutthroat industry, it's very difficult to get back lost customers as Penney seems to be learning the hard way. Today's news seemed to confirm what many in the market already believed: There's little to no reason to bet on this stock's turnaround.

Jeremy Bowman and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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