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JCPenney Is Inexplicably the Best-Performing Department Store

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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JCPenney is on the comeback trail and taking out competitors on its way to the top. Fortune reports that JCPenney was the top performer among other department stores, like Kohl's, Macy's, and even Nordstrom, this past quarter. The retailer announced today that it saw its comparable sales go up 6.4% this quarter, besting both analyst's predictions (which said the store's sales would rise 5.6%), and other stores.

JCPenney's performance is in stark contrast to that of Macy's which announced more losses this quarter and doesn't envision things improving much even with the holiday season arriving. Macy's blames the losses on unseasonably warm weather, which left customers unmotivated to buy outerwear. However, Fortune says that explanation doesn't jive considering how similar Macy's and JCPenney are.

Fortune attributes JCPenney's turnaround to the fact that it dropped its desires to go upmarket and brought back the more affordable brands it's known for, like St. John's Bay. Building Sephora shop-in-shops into its spaces has also been a huge boon for JCPenney. New CEO Marvin Ellison is also looking to improve the brand's e-commerce experience by building an improved app and making it possible for stores to ship online orders in an effort to get customers' their orders as quickly as possible. JCPenney is still a long ways away from profitability, though; the retailer lost $442 million in the first nine months of this fiscal year.