J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) released its earnings report for the first three months of 2013 this afternoon, Thursday May 16, after the market closed. The company revealed that it had lost $1.31 per share in the first quarter on revenues totaling $2.6 billion. On today’s market, shares in the discount retailer trended down, closing at $18.79.

J.C. Penney logo

In anticipation of the release of this report, analysts following J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) were looking for a loss of 99 cents per share on revenue of $2.7 billion. The same period in 2012 saw the company lose 25 cents per share on revenue of $3.2 billion. J.C. Penney isn’t a growth or value stock right now, it’s a wait-and-see-if-it-survives stock.

The company did investors a favor by revealing preliminary numbers for this earnings report in the first week of May. The vast improvement expected in the company’s bottom line, particularly when compared to the last quarter it reported, showed that some of the recent changes at the company had been working.

So far in 2013, J.C. Penney shares have declined in value by around 4.5 percent. Most of that fall came after the company revealed its earnings report for the last three months of 2012. That report showed that the company had lost almost $2 per share in the quarter, and that the company was rapidly unraveling.

Since the February announcement of that report, things have changed at J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP). The company halted Bill Ackman‘s attempts to reinvent the store as a home for luxury brands, and the company ousted its CEO, former Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail chief Ron Johnson, and replaced him with his predecessor.

Since that change was made, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) has been all about survival. The company went to great lengths to secure various forms of credit for itself so that it might survive a couple of quarters, without having the ability to think long term. Now that the company has managed to secure financing, there is a chance that it might recover.

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is an unusual animal for investors to study. People wanting to buy in are doing so on the basis that this company can do enough in the next six to nine months to not go bankrupt. That feat might seem an impossibility to some, but the market reflects that difficulty in the $19 price tag on shares.