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J.C. Penney basking in post-Oscars glow | Business

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J.C. Penney basking in post-Oscars glow
J.C. Penney basking in post-Oscars glow

By Gary Strauss, USA TODAY

If Hollywood handed out Oscars for Best Recent Comeback Among Beaten Down Retailers, J.C. Penney would have been among Sunday night's nominees.

J.C. Penney shares are up about 6% to $8.45 in Tuesday afternoon trading for a two-day, 17% gain. That's on top of last week's 25% [pop, after the company posted better-than-expected fourth quarter results and said was on fist-quarter track for its first profitable quarter since since early 2011.

The retailer, an Academy Awards show sponsor the past 13 years, launched six new TV spots during Sunday's telecast as part of its latest "When it fits, you feel it'' marketing campaign. The spots, which highlight the department store chain's latest women's fashions, have struck a chord among some marketing experts.

More good news came after the market's close Monday, when J.C. Penney's credit rating was upgraded to "neutral" from "negative" by Standard & Poors.

Penney shares began cratering under CEO Ron Johnson, the former Apple retail store chief who arrived at Penney in November 2011, bringing in new merchandise and ending discounts and sales, which disenfranchised traditional customers. Johnson was fired last April and replaced by Myron "Mike" Ullman, now in his second stint as CEO.

Speaking on CNBC Tuesday, J.C. Penney director Stephen Sadove said the ad campaign and Ullman's turnaround efforts are a success.

"They've been doing a great job getting back to basics,'' says Sadove, the former Saks CEO who joined Penney's board in October.

Despite the Hollywood-style comeback since bottoming at $4.90 February 4, shares are still nearly 50% off their $19.63, 52-week high.

Shares remain remain substantially below their all-time, February 2007 peak of $87.18. 

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