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Quick Hits: J.C. Penney Reins in Expansion

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Brief Scrutiny of Today's Headlines

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Investors are latching onto any news with a remotely positive spin. Meanwhile, J.C. Penney (JCP) is embracing economic data for what it is: Lousy.

A year ago, CEO Myron Ullman told investors the chain expected to open 250 new stores over five years. Yesterday, the discount retailer announced it will scale back expansion plans. Consumers struggling with high fuel costs, falling home prices and a questionable employment outlook were all cited as reasons for pursuing a more conservative course.

Ken Hicks, J.C. Penney's President, said the company is "keeping a laser focus on the consumers and on their wants and needs." The chain is launching its own brand of home furnishings, an apparent response to the booming demand that's currently pushing competitor Linens 'n Things to the brink of bankruptcy.
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