J.C. Penney (JCP) Stock Up In After-Hours Trading Following Earnings Release

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of J.C. Penney Co (JCP) are higher by 3.1% to $8.98 in after-hours trading Wednesday, following the company's first quarter earnings release.

For the quarter, J.C. Penney posted a narrower than expected loss of 57 cents per share, compared to the loss of 76 cents per share consensus estimate, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue came in at $2.86 billion for the period, matching the $2.86 billion analysts were expecting.

In the same quarter of last year, the retailer posted a loss of $1.16 per share on sales of $2.8 billion.

For the first quarter, J.C. Penney posted same store sales growth of 3.4%, just missing the consensus estimate of a 3.5% rise year over year.

Still, the company raised its full year margin and same store sales guidance. It now expects comp sales to rise between 4% to 5%, up from its prior guidance of a rise of between 3% to 5%.

The retailer now expects gross margin to improve between 100 to 150 basis points, up from its previous guidance of 50 to 100 basis points.

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.

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:

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