Penney Operating Profit Triples

Second-quarter operating profit at Plano, TX-based cataloger/retailer J.C. Penney Co. (NYSE: JCP) tripled. What’s more income from continuing operations totaled $72 million, compared with an operating loss of $3 million last year.

During the quarter, Penney completed the sale of its Eckerd Drugstore business. The loss from Eckerd, now a discontinued operation, totaled $71 million, net of taxes.

Department store and catalog/Internet sales increased 6%, to $3.9 billion from $3.6 billion for the second quarter of last year. Although catalog/Internet sales fell 2%, the division’s contribution to profit continued to generate “solid improvement,” according to a statement. Internet sales increased more than 30% for the quarter.

Commenting on back-to-school results, chairman/CEO Allen Questrom said, “Our early back-to-school results are exceeding our expectations. A number of external factors, including higher oil prices and concerns over terrorism, could impact future consumer spending patterns, but we remain confident that our third-quarter sales and operating profits will improve.”

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