J.C. Penney says key sales measure up 10.1 pct in November as holiday shopping season begins

PLANO, Texas – J. C. Penney Co. says a key sales measure jumped 10.1 per cent in November, helped by a strong start to the holiday shopping season.

The Plano, Texas-based company’s stock rose 5 per cent in after-hours trading Tuesday.

J.C. Penney said revenue from stores open for at least a year improved because of its merchandise selection and promotions despite a competitive retail environment. The figure is a closely watched indicator of financial performance because it strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores.

The retailer also said that its online sales were strong and were running well ahead of last year.

The company said it hopes to maintain its momentum through the holiday season.

J.C. Penney is focusing on the holiday shopping season as an opportunity to bounce back after a long sales slump. The company has lost more than $2.4 billion since late 2011.

Shares of J.C. Penney picked up 51 cents to $10.62 in extended trading Tuesday. They increased 10 cents to close regular trading at $10.11, but are down 49 per cent in 2013.