NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- First-quarter sales at JCPenney ( JCP) suffered a wider decline than analysts were expecting, according to preliminary financial results released by the department store after Tuesday's market close. The Plano, Texas-based company said for its fiscal first quarter, which ended on Saturday, total sales dropped by 16.4% over the prior year, to $2.64 billion. Analysts on average, according to Thomson Reuters, expected sales to fall 13% to $2.74 billion for the quarter. JCPenney stock slid 3.1% to $16.40 on Tuesday. Shares recovered somewhat in after-hours trading, up 1.8% at last check to $16.70. The retailer also said comparable store sales will decline by approximately 16.6% for the quarter compared to the same period last year. The sales decline in the first quarter is partially attributable to construction activities in the home departments in 505 stores, it said. The company noted that results for the quarter also reflect its prior pricing and marketing strategies, which are being changed under new leadership. JCPenney's cash and cash equivalents were approximately $821 million as of May 4. Total debt was approximately $3.82 billion, including amounts outstanding on the revolving credit facility of $850 million, long-term debt of $2.87 billion and capital leases and notes payable of $100 million. The company will release its full quarterly earnings results after the market closes on May 16, 2013. -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.