JC Penney shares pop 17% on improved sales guidance

Shares in once-beleaguered retailer JC Penney soared nearly 17 percent on Tuesday after the company said fourth-quarter sales would come in at the upper end of expectations.

The company said comparable-store sales for the quarter would grow at the higher end of the forecast 2-4 percent range.

"Our highest priority over the last year has been to restore profitable sales growth at JCPenney. This holiday season was instrumental in that effort - and our teams delivered," CEO Mike Ullman said in a statement.

Penney's struggles were once so acute that same-store sales fell for nine straight quarters, and the stock hit an all-time low in early 2014.