For the first time in nearly two years, J.C. Penney reported a monthly sales gain. Shares jumped 5.6 percent Thursday.
The struggling retailer reported that in October, sales at stores open at least a year edged up 0.9 percent – the first increase since December 2011. This figure is a key indicator of a retailer’s health, because it measures growth at ongoing locations by excluding results from stores recently opened or closed.
In September, the figure fell 4 percent for the Plano, Texas company.
October online sales climbed 37.6 percent from last year, with home merchandise sales rising more than 50 percent from September 2012. There were also strong sales of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing.
J.C. Penney said it continues to work on remerchandising and reconfiguring its home department in stores and online so that it matches better with how customers shop.