"That what makes this turnaround, and it is a turnaround, so amazing," Cramer said.
Cramer believes the company's good fortunes are a direct result of shrewd strategies implemented by CEO Mike Ullman, a former chief executive brought back by the Penney board.
"Ullman raised much needed cash through a combination of new credit lines and a brutal equity offering that crushed the stock," Cramer explained. That gave Ullman the necessary capital to implement significant changes.
"He cleared out all of the merchandise that Johnson had brought in, because it had turned off shoppers. Then he returned Penney to its roots, offering private label brands that Johnson had gutted."
The decision to emphasize Penney's private label brands, Cramer says, is particularly important because of the way in which it impacted long-term viability.
"Given the much more bountiful gross margins of private label to expensive brand name merchandise, this change immediately gave a lift to cash flow, which took any monetary worries off the table."
Also, Cramer said Ullman won back former Penney shoppers that were lost under Johnson's regime, by restoring promotions and coupons; marketing tools that made shoppers feel good about Penney's because they felt like they were getting significant bargains.
In addition, "Ullmnan got the home furnishing department, one of the best sources of profit, totally in synch with shoppers' desires. JC Penney is the only merchant that can claim to have strengthening sales in that lucrative category," Cramer said.