J.C. Penney Co. Inc. bucked the overall negative trend in retail stocks today and posted a 9.3 percent gain after the company said it would selectively hold sales.
Penney’s stock jumped $1.79 to $21.01 as investors gave a big thumbs up for the return to price promotions.
A company spokeswoman said: “Starting this week with the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, we have a fine jewelry promotion. That Valentine’s Day sale is only in fine jewelry, and only until Feb. 14th.
“The cornerstone of our value proposition continues to be our every day prices,” she said. “We will, however, have a targeted sale in a certain category, when it means the most to our customer, e.g., a fine jewelry sale at Valentine’s Day. For competitive reasons, we have not disclosed any future marketing plans.”
The company, which a year ago moved to an every day low price stance, has been testing the waters over the past couple months with selected promotions.
As trading settled, the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was down 0.4 percent, or 3.10 points, to 702.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5 percent, or 72.49 points, to 13,954.42. The day’s decliners included Hanesbrands Inc., down 2.2 percent to $37.64; Ross Stores Inc., 1.5 percent to $59.41, and Oxford Industries Inc., 1.4 percent to $50.34.
Stocks were pressured by the latest reading of The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which fell to 58.6 this month from 66.7 in December and 71.5 in November. Economists expected the latest survey to show much smaller drop, with the index dipping to 65. “The increase in the payroll tax has undoubtedly dampened consumers’ spirits and it may take a while for confidence to rebound and consumers to recover from their initial paycheck shock,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the research group.
In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.7 percent to 6,339.19, as Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.2 percent to 7,848.57, and Paris’ CAC 40 inched up 0.1 percent to 3,785.82.
Many fashion stocks lost ground for the day, including Mulberry Group, down 2.4 percent to 11.86 pounds; Salvatore Ferragamo Italia, 2.3percent to 18.97 euros; Tod’s, 1.2 percent to 101.80 euros, and Burberry Group, 0.5 percent to13.68 pounds.
The pound traded at $1.58 against the dollar as the euro went for $1.35.