Retailer JC Penney warns of softer sales in September; shares fall

Markets Associated Press

Shares of J.C. Penney Co. fell nearly 10 percent after the department store operator warned that its sales last month were weaker than expected.

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The Plano, Texas-based company has been trying to recover from a botched transformation plan by former CEO Ron Johnson that resulted in large losses and plunging sales. It has showed some encouraging signs, with sales rising 6 percent at established locations during the second quarter.

But J.C. Penney says sales were softer than expected in September. It now expects a key sales measure to be in the low-single digit range for the third quarter, down from its previous forecast of mid-single digit growth. It kept its third-quarter and full-year earnings guidance unchanged.

J.C. Penney shares fell 88 cents, or 9.6 percent, to $8.31 in afternoon trading.