J.C. Penney Co. shares zigzagged in after-hours trading after its third-quarter sales missed already reduced expectations but its loss was smaller than expected. Net loss narrowed to $188 million, or 62 cents a share, from $489 million, or $1.94 a share, in the year-earlier period. That beat the 81-cent FactSet consensus loss estimate. Sales dipped 0.5% to $2.76 billion, just shy of the $2.81 billion consensus estimate. Comparable-store sales were flat. That missed the 2.2% gain analysts surveyed by Retail Metrics were looking for. Analysts already cut their sales estimates after the company warned in October that sales would fall short. Gross margin widened by 7.1 percentage points. Penney said it expects fourth-quarter same-store sales to rise 2% to 4%. See related story.
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