J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) shares were down in the early trading, after Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO), its second biggest shareholder, offloaded almost half of its stake in the retailer, reports Bloomberg.


As per the people familiar with the matter, Vornado sold a 10-million share block at $16.40 through Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) (ETR:DBK). The struggling department-store company’s stock lost 2 percent to $16.40 yesterday in New York. At the close of the day, the stock lost 5.4 percent. Including yesterday’s drop, the Texas-based retailer’s shares have dropped by 15 percent this year so far, and last year they declined by 44 percent.

The company headed by former Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail chief Ron Johnson, reported a 25 percent decline in annual revenue to $13 billion (lowest since at least 1987), a week earlier. Johnson joined the company as CEO in November 2011, and since has resorted to the strategy of everyday low prices to transform the company. The department-store company’s stock has lost 44 percent since June 13, 2011. Just a day before, Johnson was announced as J.C. Penney’s new CEO.

Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO), the owner of more than 100 million square feet of U.S. properties, posted a $224.9 million loss on its 10.7 percent stake in J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), last week. Vornado is the second largest shareholder of J.C. Penny with 23.4 million shares. Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP with 17.8 percent of shares is the biggest shareholder. The company’s chairman, Steven Roth is a member of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP)’s board of directors.

“I’m a director of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) so I can’t talk very much about it, but J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is an investment that is in progress now, and it would be inappropriate for me to talk about what our holding period might be, or our plans in terms of sale or not- sale,” Roth said on a conference call on Feb. 27.

Roth said, “it’s no secret that Penney is struggling right now.”

“The J.C. Penney investment is more complicated,” Roth said. “But Toys R Us we bought to sell. We and our partners would like to sell but the IPO market has deteriorated.”

A company’s spokesman Joey Thomas declined to comment on the market activity.