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JC Penney Profit Up On Lower Costs, Sales Growth

Wall Street Journal - Feb 25, 2011

J.C. Penney Co.'s (JCP) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 36% as the department-store operator benefited from cost controls and improving sales in areas such as men's apparel, women's accessories and beauty products from its in-store Sephora boutiques.

The retailer said this year will see it leaning further on exclusive lines, such as Liz Claiborne from Liz Claiborne Inc. (LIZ), MNG by Mango and Call It Spring by Aldo Group Inc. as it hopes to differentiate itself from other department stores.

The goal is "new growth initiatives and improvements across our merchandise assortments," Chief Executive Myron (Mike) Ullman said.

Ullman, 64, started the call by saying he was a passenger in a car accident earlier in the week. No one was seriously hurt, but he was "left kind of beat up with some aches and bruises." As a result, Ullman shortened his opening remarks.

As for J.C. Penney, in addition to focusing on exclusive lines, the company will continue to streamline its operations. Cost-cutting steps are "rigorous," Ullman said. In January, the company said it would close underperforming stores and its catalogue business, shut its 19 outlets and consolidate call centers.

Read Full Article from Wall Street Journal

- Posted: 2011-02-25 22:06:27

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