The retailer's comparable sales grew solidly unlike that of rivals Macy's and Kohl's. One analyst calls it the ''best performing department store right now.'' Fred Katayama reports.
J.C. Penney bucking the trend in retail. Its comparable sales in the holiday quarter grew more than 4 percent unlike the dismal sales reported by Macy's and Kohl's. Penney's sales rose across all regions. Spurring the action at registers: handbags, shoes, home goods, and Sephora cosmetics. Earnings adjusted for pension expenses multiplied nine-fold as the retailer expanded its margins and cut costs. The company is in the process of turning itself around under Home Depot veteran Marvin Ellison after billions of dollars in losses. Starting this month, it's bringing back home appliances to try to further boost sales. Cowen analyst Oliver Chen called it the "best performing department store right now." Baird Equity Research analyst Mark Altschwager said, "We're encouraged by the disciplined cost management, progress with the balance sheet, and continued comp momentum in a challenging fourth quarter environment." J.C. Penney shares rocketed higher in early trading, extending its momentum this year, but the shares are still down 7 percent over the last 12 months. After narrowing its loss for the year, Penney now expects positive earnings in 2016.