New YorkMoody’s Investors Service lowered the long- and short-term ratings of Plano, Texas-based J. C. Penney Co. Inc. The lowered ratings were based on the decline in credit fundamentals due to poor operating performance at Penney’s department stores and its Eckerd drug store chain.

Another factor was an expectation that profitability and credit metric improvements will be difficult to achieve near term. Moody’s concern is that operating performance could further deteriorate if Penney’s management is unsuccessful in improving its businesses. The rating concludes the review that began on January 5, 2001.