J.C. Penney reports "pleasing" performance

J.C. Penney provided an ambiguous update on its holiday season performance, indicating it showed continued progress in its turnaround efforts and was “pleased” with its performance.

The company released a brief and vague statement Wednesday morning in which it noted, “customers responded well to the company’s offerings this holiday season, both in stores and online.”

J.C. Penney affirmed an equally vague outlook shared with investors on Nov. 20, 2013, when the company reported third quarter results. At the time, the company said it expected same store sales and gross margins to improve sequentially from the 4.8% comp decline and 29.5% gross margin rate reported during the third quarter.

Additional guidance called for expenses to decline and in a nod to those who were forecasting the company’s demise in advance of the holidays it forecast year end total availability liquidity in excess of $2 billion.

The company did not provide an earnings forecast in conjunction with its third quarter results, but two weeks later on Dec. 3, in another move to appease anxious investors, the company disclosed that November same store sales had increased 10.1%. Then, as now, the company noted it was “pleased” with its performance. However with its most recent announcement J.C. Penney stopped short of quantifying the magnitude of its pleasure.

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