Q4, year-end results mixed for JC Penney, Brookstone, OfficeMax

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It was a mixed bag of sales and income results yesterday for several multichannel retailers.

J.C. Penney Company Inc. reported sales for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 3 totaled $6.664 billion, up 7.4 percent from last year. Comparable-store sales increased 2.2 percent during the same period.

The Plano, TX-based retailer also said direct sales decreased 1.2 percent during the fourth quarter, while Internet sales through www.jcp.com increased 17.6 percent.

The company's fourth quarter net income totaled $477 million, down 13.4 percent from last year. Earnings per diluted share were $2.09, down 10.7 percent from last year's $2.34.

For the year, J.C. Penney's net sales totaled $19.903 billion, up 6 percent from the previous year. Comparable-store sales rose 3.7 percent during the same period while direct sales increased 2.4 percent and Internet sales rose 22.1 percent.

The company's net income for the year totaled $1.153 billion, up 6 percent from the previous year. Earnings per diluted share were $4.96, up 16.4 percent from last year.

Brookstone Inc., Merrimack, NH, posted a 13.3 percent increase in sales for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 30, 2006, for a total of $256 million. Same-store sales rose 6.7 percent during the same period.

For the 52-week period ended Dec. 30, Brookstone reported net sales totaled $512 million, a 9.3 percent gain over last year. Same-store sales increased 1.8 percent during the same period.

The merchant's income from operations was $30.6 million compared to $15.4 million reported by the previous owner's of Brookstone for the 48-week period ended Dec. 31, 2005.

OfficeMax Inc., Naperville, IL, reported that net income for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 30 increased to $58 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $43.1 million, or a loss of $0.62 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2005. Net income for the year full year increased to $91.7 million, or $1.19 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $73.8 million, or $0.99 per diluted share, reported in the previous year.

On a per-segment basis, sales in the OfficeMax contract segment decreased 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter but increased 1.9 percent for the full year.

The office supply merchant's retail segment posted a 13 percent decrease in sales for the fourth quarter of 2006 and a 6 percent decrease for the year. Same-store sales decreased 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter and increased 0.1 percent for the year.

The drop in sales was due to store closings, the effect of one less week compared to the previous year and a new initiative to eliminate mail-in rebates and provide instant rebates instead, OfficeMax said.

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