NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- J.C. Penney(JCP) - Get Report  shares are up 4.69% to $7.14 on Friday after analysts at Credit Suisse earlier this morning raised its rating on the department store operator to "neutral" from "underperform" with a $7 price target. 

The main reason for the upgrade is its focus on debt reduction. 

"We think the company could reduce its total outstanding debt by almost 20% by the end of 2017; it already prepaid and retired its $500 million term loan in December 2015," analysts said.

Despite recently achieving positive same-store sales, its revenue growth could be challenging as it continues to be a net closer of stores, the firm noted.

But given improvements in merchandising and efforts to focus on expense savings, the firm is more bullish than it was before. 

Separately, TheStreet Ratings currently has a "Sell" rating on the stock with a letter grade of D. 

he company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: JCP

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