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J.C. Penney Back From the Dead? We Head to the Mall to Find Out

References to "big buy" and the exact percentage off are converting to sales. In 2013, the company needed more profit-killing "clearance" signs to seal the deal.

"Clearance sales were less than 15% of the total sales for the quarter, in line with historical rate. In addition, the margin on clearance goods continues to normalize and significantly improved vs. last quarter's results," noted J.C. Penney chief financial officer Ed Record on the second-quarter earnings call in August.

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