NEW YORK (AP) -- J.C. Penney's stock is climbing in premarket trading Wednesday, buoyed by a rise in a key sales metric in November.
On Tuesday the department store operator reported that sales at stores open at least a year surged 10.1 percent last month, helped by a strong start to the holiday shopping season.
J.C. Penney said its sales from stores open for at least a year improved because of its merchandise selection and promotions despite a competitive retail environment. The figure is a closely watched indicator of financial performance, It strips away the potentially volatile impact of recently opened or closed stores.
The Plano, Texas, company also said that its online sales were strong and were running well ahead of last year.
J.C. Penney is focusing on the holiday shopping season as an opportunity to bounce back after a long sales slump. The company has lost more than $2.4 billion since late 2011.
Jenna Giannelli of Citi Investment Research said in a client note that her observations showed that J.C. Penney was highly promotional over the holiday weekend, with its Home department running sales of 40 percent to 60 percent off for some items.
Still, the analyst said that she's encouraged by the retailer's improving results.
Shares of J.C. Penney Co. added 51 cents, or 5 percent, to $10.62 in premarket trading about three hours ahead of the market open.
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