Former employees said the retailer likely booked reserves no longer required to pay hefty pensions as a credit to shareholders' equityJ.C. Penney Company, Inc. ( JCP) has started showing signs of improvement. The company has received upgrades from many analysts. Imperial Capital analysts Mary Ross-Gilbert estimates J.C. Penney’s first quarter sales to rise 4.3%, thanks to re-opening of the home department in many stores. Gilford Securities analyst Bernard Sosnick says that the retailer must achieve its projects sales gain of 3-5% in Q1, 2014 to reassure investors. Sosnick has a Buy rating on the struggling retailer.