J.C. Penney Co. Inc. sought to calm some frayed nerves as investors continued to worry over the company’s liquidity and its stock sank to a 13-year low on Wednesday.
A statement from the 1,100-door retailer today said, “The company still anticipates it will experience positive comparable-store sales trends coming out of the third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter of 2013.”
The firm’s comparable sales fell 26.1 percent in the third quarter last year and 31.7 percent in the fourth quarter.
Penney’s also noted it was “pleased with its progress thus far” in its turnaround efforts and in the “traction” its initiatives are starting to achieve.
The retailer noted that “it is starting to see greater predictability in its performance across many areas.”
“The company continues to be encouraged by improvements in purchase conversion both in store and on jcp.com, primarily due to being back in stock in key items and sizes the customer expects to find at J.C. Penney,” the statement said. “Overall sales on jcp.com continue to trend double digits ahead of last year.”
Shares of the company fell as much as 16.6 percent to $9.93 on Wednesday, a level not seen since October 2000. The stock regained some ground later in the day and was up 0.4 percent to $10.16 in premarket trading today.
This week, Goldman debt analysts Kristen McDuffy and Ryan Gallant initiated coverage on Penney’s with an underperform rating and argued that “a combination of weak fundamentals, inventory rebuilding and an underperforming home department will likely challenge J.C. Penney’s liquidity levels in [the third quarter].”
Citi equity analyst Deborah Weinswig said in a research note today, “We still believe JCP has ample liquidity for 2013, but we do think it prudent for them to raise capital to cushion against a potentially challenging holiday season.”
Weinswig has a sell rating on the stock and lowered her target price to $7 from $11.
After rising 1.5 percent around 9 am Thursday, Penney’s shares fell back to remain flat at $10.12 in pre-market trading.