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JC Penney shares soar on signs of improvement

Shares of JC Penney surged Friday, rising 6 percent to just above $23, after the retailer offered early signs of improvement from an overhaul of its stores and pricing policy.

JC Penney’s Chief Executive Ron Johnson offered investors a glimmer of hope during a conference call after the company reported a deeper-than-expected drop in quarterly sales and a big loss.

The department store chain said it saw a net loss of $81 million, or $0.37 share, compared to expectations for a $0.14 deficit. Same-store sales tumbled 22 percent during the period, but moderated a little during early August.

The signs of improvement at the retailer, which is trying to overhaul of its stores and pricing policy, gave investors cheer.

In February the retailer radically changed its pricing policy, eliminating the use of coupons and discounts in favor of a strategy of using everyday low prices.

Many observers have worried that the new pricing policy at the 102-year-old retailer would scare away customers.

Jan Kniffen, CEO of J. Rogers Kniffen Worldwide Enterprises, appeared on CNBC Friday to offer his views on the retailer’s outlook, saying he doesn’t think JC Penney’s days are numbered.

Kniffen said he’s still waiting to see more results from the retailer’s turnaround.

“Do I think these guys are going out of business? No, I don’t,” he told CNBC.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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