NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of J.C. Penney Co  (JCP) are stumbling, down 4.05% to $8.52 in late morning trading Wednesday, ahead of the company's first quarter earnings release after the market closes today.

J.C. Penney is expected to post a loss of 76 cents per share, compared to a loss of $1.16 per share it reported a year ago, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue is expected by analysts to come in at $2.86 billion, compared with sales of $2.8 billion from the same quarter of last year, according to Thomson Reuters.

Head of retail at ITG Investment Research John Tomlinson said in a note that J.C. Penney's sales appears to have risen solidly in the first quarter.

However, "the combination of tough weather in the beginning of the quarter, the negative impact of the Easter shift, and the recent rise in gas prices likely held back further top-line gains," he added.

The firm expects first quarter same store sales growth in a range of between 3.8% to 4.8%, higher compared to the consensus estimate of a 3.5% rise year over year. 

Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney is a holding company with its business consisting of selling merchandise and services to consumers through its department stores and its Internet site.

The company sells family apparel and footwear, accessories, fine and fashion jewelry, beauty products through Sephora inside J.C. Penney, and home furnishings.

Shares of J.C. Penney are no longer listed in the S&P 500 index.

Insight from TheStreet's Research Team:

Michael Khouw commented on J.C. Penney in a recent post on ActionAlertsOPTIONS.com. During the most recent weekly roundup, this is what Khouw had to say about the stock:

What to Watch: Management is looking for same-store sales growth of 4%. Out of all the stocks we expect to mention this week, JCP has the highest implied move relative to its historical, and that is not surprising. The key is how much ground does JCP have to cover coming off of the disastrous Ron Johnson era, as brief as it was, and regain market share.

The current management team has made cost cuts, but in a business that is highly competitive and low margin, JCP still needs to work on its high store count and analysts argue even more aggressive restructuring needs to take place.

-Michael Khouw, 'Weekly Roundup' originally published 5/11/2015 onActionAlertsOPTIONS.com.

Want more information like this from Michael Khouw and TheStreet Research Team BEFORE your stock moves? Learn more about ActionAlertsOPTIONS.com now.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates PENNEY (J C) CO as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PENNEY (J C) CO (JCP) a SELL. This is driven by a number of negative factors, 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 unimpressive growth in net income, generally high debt management risk, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself."

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

More from Markets

Baidu Stock Plummets After COO Qi Lu Resignation

Baidu Stock Plummets After COO Qi Lu Resignation

Wondering What Blockchain Technology Really Is? This Expert Explains It All

Wondering What Blockchain Technology Really Is? This Expert Explains It All

Dow Rises Sharply as U.S.-China Trade Tensions Thaw

Dow Rises Sharply as U.S.-China Trade Tensions Thaw

GE Confirms $11.1 Billion Transportation Merger With Wabtec

GE Confirms $11.1 Billion Transportation Merger With Wabtec

Gold Prices Look 'Rich' at Current Levels - Here's What Could Change That

Gold Prices Look 'Rich' at Current Levels - Here's What Could Change That