NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- While

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

still expects September same-store sales to be in negative territory, those results will significantly improve from last year.

The department store announced on Monday that same-store sales for the month will be in the range of down 3% to 6%. That compares with a 12.4% decline in September 2008.

But while things appear to be getting better, are they really? Up against significantly easier comparisons, the bar has become much easier for retailers to pass. However, according to analyst Dana Telsey, of the firm bearing her name, demand is still weak.

In August,

J.C. Penney's same-store sales

were off 7.9%, worse than the 6.7% decline analysts expected.

Shares of J.C. Penney were up 1% to $32.63 in afternoon trading, as were other department store rivals.

Macy's

(M) - Get Report

jumped 1% to $17.95,

Saks

(SKS)

soared 5% to $7.04,

Kohl's

(KSS) - Get Report

grew 1% to $55,

Sears

(SHLD)

inclined 2% to $66.26, and

Dillard's

(DDS) - Get Report

shot up 3.5% to $14.65.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York

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