NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Saks (SKS)  CEO Stephen Sadove will be joining J.C. Penney's (JCP) - Get Report board in a move aimed at lifting the struggling retailer whose shares have plummeted 61% this year. Sadove, Saks' CEO since 2006, also serves as chairman of the National Retail Federation.

Sadove will step down as CEO and Chairman of Saks upon the completion of its merger with Hudson's Bay Company expected before the end of the year.

J.C. Penney Chairman Thomas Engibous said in a statement that Sadove's expertise will be an integral component "as we focus on guiding the turnaround at J.C. Penney".

The retailer's September comparable sales figures show prospects are already improving since a month earlier. Comparable store sales gained 580 basis points month-to-month and online sales rose 25.3%.

Sadove will replace sitting board member Geraldine Laybourne who is leaving the company to focus on her role as chairman of startup KANDU.

J.C. Penney shares are up 3.35% in pre-market trading, after closing Tuesday at $7.77.

TheStreet Ratings team rates J.C. Penney Co as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate J.C. Penney Co (JCP) a SELL. This is driven by several weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 2.51 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.44, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Multiline Retail industry and the overall market, PENNEY (J C) CO's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for PENNEY (J C) CO is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 29.55%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -22% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$708 million or 2112.50% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • PENNEY (J C) CO has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, PENNEY (J C) CO reported poor results of -$4.49 vs. -73 cents in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 34.7% in earnings (-$6.05 vs. -$4.49).

Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.