J.C. Penney fourth-quarter same-store sales fall 31.7 percent

J.C. Penney Co Inc on Wednesday reported that sales at stores open at least a year fell 31.7 percent in the fourth quarter, steeper than the 27.8 percent drop analysts were expecting.

Penney, in the midst of a difficult turnaround, report a net loss of $552 million, or $2.51 per share in the 14 weeks ended February 2, compared to a loss of $87 million, or $0.41 per share for a 13-week period a year earlier.

The department store chain had $930 million in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in Toronto; Editing by David Gregorio)