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Weekly sales at

J.C. Penney


were on plan for the first week of February.

At J.C. Penney, comparable department store sales, which track sales at stores open at least one year, were on target for a low-single-digit decrease in the first week of February. The most popular items were home furnishings and women's apparel and accessories. At the Plano, Texas-based company's catalog division, sales were on plan for a high-single-digit decline. Drugstore sales were on plan for a high-single-digit increase. The company's shares were down 15 cents at $14.76.

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Other major retailers held back their weekly sales reports ahead of Thursday's release of full monthly sales data.



, the nation's largest retailer, has said in past weeks that it is on plan for a mid-single-digit percentage gain in comparable store sales at both its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club divisions. (Wal-Mart counts five weeks in its January sales period, while most other retailers, such as J.C. Penney, count four.)

Most major retailers will report monthly same-store sales figures on Thursday. These will be closely watched to gauge the behavior of the nation's consumers in the wake of a disappointing holiday sales season.