J.C. Penney shares are trading at their lowest level in nearly 13 years as the department stores' woes appear to be worsening.
The Plano, Texas, retailer has struggled for some time with weak sales, a bungled turnaround effort, management changes and board resignations. A number of large shareholders have sold off stakes.
Wednesday's freefall comes as a New York State Supreme Court Judge summoned lawyers for Martha Stewart, J.C. Penney and Macy's Inc. to a hearing, almost two months after the three made closing arguments in a lengthy battle over Penney's partnership with the homemaking maven.
It also follows recent reports that the retailer may run out of cash before the holiday season.
Shares fell $1.58, or 13.3 percent, to $10.32 at midmorning, after earlier dropping as low as $9.93.