Net Rises 140 Percent for J.C. Penney in First Quarter

       

       

PLANO, Texas-First-quarter net income for J.C. Penney registered $60 million, up 140 percent from the first quarter of one year ago.

The department-store company managed to boost its bottom line largely through discipline over expenses. Its gross margin rose 96 basis points to 41.5 percent, while total operating expenses were essentially flat with last year’s first quarter. Net sales increased 1.2 percent to $3.9 billion, which included a 1.3 percent rise in same-store sales.

In a company statement, Myron E. Ullman III, chairman and chief executive officer, termed the first quarter “a solid start to the year for J.C. Penney.” Ullman credited the retailer’s disciplined approach to managing the business along with steps the company has taken to present “merchandise that’s new and trend-right at compelling prices.”

J.C. Penney’s management also predicted that total sales in the second quarter will increase by from 2 percent to 2.5 percent, while comparable-store sales will rise by from 2.5 percent to 3 percent. Gross margin will improve modestly compared to last year’s second quarter.