Colder Weather Warms J.C. Penney Sales

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J.C. Penney Co. Inc. increased its quarterly earnings target yesterday, according to Reuters.


The company said department store sales for the final week of October continued to be above plan, supported by cooler temperatures and a strong planned marketing program. During the month, sales were strong across all merchandise categories and are well above the company's plan for a 3 percent to 4 percent sales gain. The best categories for the week were fine jewelry, home and shoes.


However, catalog sales are expected to decline about 20 percent for the month.


Reuters reported that the company forecast earnings of more than 21 cents per share during the fiscal third quarter ending this month. Analysts had been expecting it to earn 17 cents to 21 cents per share, with a consensus of 19 cents per share, according to Thomson First Call.


"Penney had a good back-to-school season, and that pretty much solidified the operating results for the quarter," said Bernard Sosnick, retail analyst with Fahnstock & Co., which co-managed a J.C. Penney convertible notes offering last year, according to Reuters.


Sosnick said the company was also realizing the benefits of new merchandise and marketing managers as well as improved store displays.


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