J. C. Penney

(JCP) - Get J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Report

reported a narrower-than-expected decrease in its same-store sales for December.

The fifth-largest U.S. retailer, based in Plano, Texas, reported that same-store sales at its department stores fell 1.6% from last year. According to

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, analysts on average expected same-store sales in December to drop 2.4%. The company also said same-store drugstore sales for December rose 6.3%.

Total company sales in December fell 1.5%, to $4.66 billion from $4.73 billion in the same period last year, while department store sales in the month decreased 2.7% to $2.56 billion from $2.63 billion in the 1999 period. Total drugstore sales at its 2,600 Eckerd stores grew 1% to $1.47 billion from $1.46 billion last year.

Shares of J.C. Penney, which yesterday named Robert Cavanaugh, currently chief financial officer of the company's Eckerd drugstore chain, as its CFO, closed at $12 in Wednesday trading on the Big Board.