CEO Mike Ullman also said there are no planned management changes for 2014, after prior indications that his stay in the role would be temporary. Ullman rejoined the retailer last April, following Johnson's failed attempt to remake Penney's as a store filled with designer labels but no coupons.
"It is clear that our efforts to re-merchandise many areas of the store and revamp our messaging to the customer are taking hold," Ullman said in the report.
Belus Capital Advisors analyst Brian Sozzi said the company's return to promotions and an "infusion of flare" in departments such as teen and athletic wear "could bring the company to the land of profits for the upcoming holiday season."
"Believe me, it's almost unimaginable to utter such words after having a sell rating on the stock for two years," he said. Sozzi now has a hold rating on the stock, with a price target of $9.
Read MoreAs stores close, this retailer is doubling down
Perkins, however, expressed doubt that Penney's, which still posted a loss of $1.16 per share for the quarter, would churn out a profit in any quarter this year.
What's more, as 2014 progresses, the retailer's comps will become more difficult to top, as it laps Ullman's return.
Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger also sounded a hesitant note. She called Penney's results "encouraging," but said, "we remain skeptical on J.C. Penney's longer-term outlook."
J.C. Penney shares were about 15 percent higher, near $9.60 on Friday.
—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson.