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Ron Johnson

J.C. Penney reports smaller quarterly loss as sales improve

After a tough start to the year, J.C. Penney's business enjoyed a bounce in the second quarter, fueled by efforts to bring back appliances and spruce up other sections of the store.

The Plano, Texas-based department store chain reported a smaller loss for the second quarter compared to a year earlier as sales improved. CEO Marvin Ellison believes the company can maintain the momentum with a slew of new brands and other enticements coming in the next few months.

In addition to its own efforts, Penney is benefiting from store closings by Macy's and Sears Holdings Inc. Ellison told analysts Friday the company has seen sales improve in malls where its rivals shuttered their...

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