JCPenney Boosts FY97 Earnings to $839 Million

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JCPenney Co. Inc. last week reported a 5.8 percent increase in earnings before one-time charges, net of tax, to $839 million from $793 million for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31.

Net income remained flat at $566 million for fiscal 1997, compared with $565 million for fiscal 1996. In the fourth quarter, there was a sharp increase in earnings and income. Earnings, before one-time charges, net of tax, rose 21.3 percent to $365 million from $301 million for the same quarter last year.

Including the one-time charge, net income jumped 135.8 percent for the quarter to $224 million from $94 million for fourth-quarter 1996, which also included one-time charges. The one-time, pretax charge in the fourth quarter was for $230 million and paid for performance- enhancing initiatives, drugstore integration activities and the closure of underperforming stores and other support facilities.

JCPenney chairman and CEO James E. Oesterreicher described fiscal 1997 as a transition year for the company.

"We initiated several programs to lower the company's cost structure and change processes to focus merchandise offerings and improve customer service with JCPenney stores and catalog," he said.

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