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J.C. Penney: We're Back, Baby!

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J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) on Tuesday reported that it has seen a two percent increase in same-store sales during the fourth quarter.

J.C. Penney's announcement is significant because it marks the first time since the second quarter of 2011 that it showed a positive comp for the quarter.

"While 2013 brought a lot of change and challenges to JCPenney, the steady improvements in our business show that the Company's turnaround is on track,” said said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, Chief Executive Officer of J.C. Penney in a press release. “In spite of the significant headwinds facing all retailers this season, including unprecedented harsh weather conditions in many parts of the country, we delivered on our promise to generate positive comparable store sales growth in the fourth quarter."

Related: Brian Sozzi: Retailers Just Letting The Stores Die Everyday

Under Ullman's second tenure as CEO, the company began showing signs of life and reported that its comparable sales for the month of November, which included Black Friday, grew 10.1 percent.

The 2013 holiday shopping season proved to be a “do or die” period for J.C. Penney, and the company refuses to die.

Belus Capital Advisors, Sterne Agee: Not convinced

Not everyone is convinced that J.C. Penney's turnaround is in full force.

Brian Sozzi, CEO and Chief Equities Strategist at Belus Capital Advisors said in a note to clients on Tuesday that he is not convinced that J.C. Penney has demonstrated it is in the early stages of a turn-around.

Sozzi reiterated a Sell rating (with no price target) on shares pending “(1) clarity on the quarter over quarter gross margin comparisons; and (2) the raw operating cash flow figure, which will shed light on whether J.C. Penney's operations have normalized or if another penalizing cash raise is likely in 2014.”

Charles Grom, analyst at Sterne Agee called J.C. Penney's same-store sales figure "unacceptable" and that the "slope of improvement continues to disappoint."

Grom slashed his price target on J.C. Penney to $3 from a previous $9 following the company's business update.

Posted-In: Belus Capital Advisors Black Friday Brian SozziAnalyst Color News Retail Sales Analyst Ratings Press Releases Best of Benzinga

 

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