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JCPenney's holiday survival plan may be working

3 weeks ago by Jon Marino in Earnings

JCPenney ($NYSE:JCP) shares rose 6% Friday, November 15, on some better-than-expected earnings news. 

Part of it is a bad-news-better-than-worse-news reaction in the marketplace. The company's earnings announcement highlighted on-target revenue, better-than-expected EPS (still, incurring losses of $0.30 per share) and same-store sales that fell less than expected. None of it should give anyone the impression JCPenney is no longer facing severe turbulence - but, for now, at least, it looks like the retailer's survival plan is working. 

We pointed out this summer that JCPenney was bracing for Black Friday and beyond with a massive increase in the number of seasonal and temporary hires - although we're just a few weeks away from the onset of the holiday shopping season, JCPenney is still looking to add staff. 

Our second chart tracks all JCPenney job postings - between the first, and the second, we can see that the majority of the company's new jobs are of the temp variety - something that seems to be the case with a number of other retailers looking to staff up for Black Friday and holiday shopping. 

Some of us have a relative whose holiday survival plan isn't going to go as well, when they start issuing social-media-tainted opinions about politics and legislation sometime between when the bird hits the table, and when the desserts come out. JCPenney might be more stable than that wacky uncle so many of us have - and, for both, we should be thankful during the holidays. After all, there's no telling how long either will be around. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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