J.C. Penney holiday sales rise 3.4%, shares up

Jan 4 (Reuters) - Department store operator J.C. Penney Co Inc said on Thursday same-store sales during the key selling months of November and December rose 3.4 percent, driven by strong demand for home goods, beauty products and jewelry.

The performance bodes well for a sector that has been struggling for years under the combined weight of Amazon.com and falling foot traffic at malls.

Shares of J.C. Penney, which also re-affirmed its full-year 2017 forecast, were up nearly 7 percent in premarket trading. Rival Macy's Inc rose 1.3 percent, while Kohl's was also up.

J.C. Penney's announcement comes on the heels of a MasterCard analytics report that said shoppers spent a record $800 billion during the 2017 U.S. holiday shopping period, on the back of surging consumer confidence and increased use of mobile devices.

To stay relevant, brick-and-mortar retailers including J.C. Penney have been heavily investing in technology and logistics to provide free delivery and returns services.

Penney said its e-ecommerce business sales rose in the double-digits on a percentage basis in the two months compared to the same period last year, largely driven by gifting items such as fine jewelry, luggage, toys, boots and athletic footwear.

Separately, Victoria's Secret owner L Brands Inc said its same-store sales for the five-weeks ended Dec. 30 rose 1 percent.

The company, however, said it would now report fourth-quarter adjusted profit of $2.00 per share, compared with its previous forecast of $1.95-$2.10 per share, sending its shares down 11 percent premarket.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $2.05 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)