AP News

J.C. Penney shares fall nearly 5 percent

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney's stock extended its decline for a third trading day Monday. The stock has fallen steadily since a meeting with analysts last week, when Penney's management told analysts that the department store chain's financial struggles will likely continue in the second half of the year.

The stock ended Monday down $1.24, or 4.8 percent, at $24.65. Meanwhile, the broader market was little changed, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index finishing down 0.2 percent.

Penney CEO Ron Johnson emphasized at the analyst meeting in Dallas on Wednesday that change at Penney will take time. The company said it expects the financial drag will linger through the year but is confident new store designs will help its business in the long run.

But so far investors aren't willing to wait and see. The Plano, Texas-based company's stock has shed 15 percent in the three trading days following the meeting.

Under Johnson, J.C. Penney has made sweeping changes over the past year. It has tried to adjust pricing, merchandise and store design, but its efforts have turned off loyal shoppers and failed to draw new ones as it hoped. That has led to disastrous financial results this year and forced the company to change its strategy.

It has brought back clearance sales and unveiled a new store prototype on Wednesday that received good reviews from analysts, but investors are still uncertain when sales will turn around.

J.C. Penney's shares traded as high as $43.18 on Feb. 9 before slumping to their year low of $19.06 on July 18.

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