J.C. Penney Is Surging Because of This One Key Figure

This story has been updated from 4:12 pm ET with additional information.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - J.C. Penney (JCP) shares were surging 23.4% to $10.33 in after-hours trading as the struggling department store delivered first-quarter earnings results that were above Wall Street's expectations, and same store sales surged past expectations.

J.C. Penney's comparable store sales came in at 6.2% above consensus expectations of 4% growth for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters.

Before getting too excited, the Plano, Texas-based company still reported a loss for the quarter. J.C. Penney had a quarterly net loss of $352 million, or $1.15 a share. But it was better than the EPS loss it took in the first quarter of 2013 of $348 million, or $1.58 a share. Net sales rose 6.3% to $2.801 billion for the quarter.

Analysts expected a loss of $1.25 a share. Revenue growth was expected to rise a mere 3% to $2.707 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

J.C. Penney's gross margin improved 230 basis points compared to the prior year's quarter to33.1 % of sales, compared to 30.8 % in the same quarter last year. That said, gross margin was still hurt by the continued clearance sales of to get rid of discontinued merchandise.

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Additionally J.C. Penney announced a new credit facility that it says will further strengthen its position.The company said it has obtained a "fully committed and underwritten" $2.35 billion senior secured asset-based lending (ABL) credit facility to replace its existing $1.85 billion ABL bank line, which matures in April 2016.

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