J.C. Penney’s loss widened in the third quarter, but there were some positives in men’s and women’s apparel and fine jewelry sales.


Shares of Penney’s shot up 9.4 percent to $9.53 in early morning trading as investors believe that the company might be turning a corner based on an early read on holiday sales.

For the quarter, the loss widened to $489 million, or $1.94 a share, from a year ago loss of $123 million , or 56 cents.

Sales fell 5.1 percent to $2.78 billion from $2.93 billion. Comparable store sales were down 4.8 percent in the quarter, although there was sequential improvement of 710 basis points compared with the second quarter of 2013.

Online sales rose 24.5 percent for the quarter and were at $266 million.

The company said men’s and women’s apparel plus fine jewelry were the bright spots for categories that did well in the period.

The gross margin was 29.5 percent in the period versus 32.5 percent a year ago, due to impact from clearance sales and markdowns.

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