The short interest in J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) puts it at the seventh highest level among all NYSE traded stocks. It has risen to 110 million for the two-week period that ended April 28. The number is an extraordinarily high 38% of the retailer’s float.
Investors have reason to bet against J.C. Penney shares. Concerns about its viability in a deeply troubled brick-and-mortar retail industry have driven its shares to $5.39, just seven cents above its 52-week low, and against a period high of $11.30. The stock has lost 79% of its value in the past five years.
J.C. Penney is part of a group of walking wounded retailers that have been in business for decades. These include the Sears and Kmart units of Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD), as well as Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M).
J.C. Penney recently announced it would close 138 stores. However, some of them apparently are still open. This reprieve does not negate problems that have caused some experts to question the ability of the company to survive.
Anxiety over whether J.C. Penney can stave off the progress of e-commerce companies, particularly Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), showed up in the new short interest report. Based on the number of shares sold short, it appears many investors believe the retailer has no future.