Is This Retailer Being Removed From the Clearance Rack?

J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) has experienced a difficult year to say the least. The 110-year old retailer competes in a highly consumer sensitive industry, and is in the process of a major turnaround. Shares were taken to the cleaners, but are on pace to log a double digit gain this week.

What is the Catalyst? 

The Texas-based retailer struggled in its efforts to effectively communicate a reduction of promotion events in favor of everyday low prices, but recently returned to offering special deals to attract more shoppers. Earlier this month, J.C. Penney launched a “friends and family” deal, providing 20 percent off merchandise.

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The coupon further indicates that chief executive officer Ron Johnson, former Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) marketing executive, may be reversing his stance on no sales or coupons. The retailer is also giving free haircuts to kids every Sunday and gave a $10 gift coupon to loyal customers in the fall.

Who Took Notice?

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) analyst Matthew Boss said the recent promotions by J.C. Penney are “clearly indicating a departure from the long-term vision.” He also expects Johnson to provide more details publicly about a change in strategy and notes that his “flexibility” is “encouraging,” but too soon to tell if customers will come back to the department store. Boss has a Neutral rating on the stock.

JPMorgan is not the only firm weighing in on J.C. Penney…