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Financing woes send Penney's stock tumbling

Aug. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- J.C. Penney' s shares plunged Wednesday after a report that CIT, the largest lender in the clothing industry, has stopped providing financial support to small and large suppliers selling to Penney stores.

According to the New York Post's online report, published Wednesday, CIT made the decision after meeting with Penney officials to examine the company's books. The newspaper quoted unnamed sources.

Officials at Penney couldn't be reached immediately. CIT's spokesman Matt Klein declined to comment, saying it doesn't comment on specific customers.

Bob Carbonell, chief credit officer at Bernard Sands, a credit agency for the clothing industry, said four of CIT's clothing clients told him that the lender is issuing a hold on approving financial support. That hold started Tuesday, he said. The orders are for shipments of goods starting later in August and beyond. That means that suppliers will have to ship at their own risk now, which may make them less likely or able to keep filling Penney's shelves.

Shares of Penney fell more than 10 percent, or $1.66, to close at $14.60, but added 19 cents in after-market trading.

Average gasoline prices down 3 cents in W.Va.

CHARLESTON -- West Virginia motorists are seeing lower prices at the gas pump.

The Triple A's weekly fuel gauge reports a 3-cent decrease in the price per gallon of gas since last week. The statewide average is about $3.65 a gallon.

That's higher than the national average of nearly $3.62.

The auto club says the statewide average is about 13 cents more than the same week a year ago.

In West Virginia, pump prices range from a low of about $3.51 in Parkersburg to a high of more than $3.89 in Martinsburg.