Plano, Texas, J. C. Penney Company, Inc. third quarter income from continuing operations increased 58%, to $234 million from $148 million last year.
Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chairman and CEO said, "We are pleased with our operating performance during the course of 2005, especially in the third quarter, which was a very challenging retail environment. As we enter the fourth quarter, we are well positioned for the holiday selling season. While there are issues impacting the consumer, we know we have a strong and exciting selection of national and private brand merchandise that is supported by compelling and creative marketing programs."
Ullman added, "Customers are reacting positively to changes that we are making to our merchandise, marketing and sales environment and the performance of our new stores continues to exceed our plan. Looking ahead, we are focused on executing our long-range plan and believe that JCPenney is in a favorable position to benefit from industry consolidation. In addition, our financial condition continues to be very strong and provides the flexibility to capitalize on future opportunities."
During the third quarter, comparable department store sales increased 2.5% on top of a 2.6% increase in last year's period. Sales were positive across the majority of merchandise divisions, and from a regional perspective, the strongest performance continued to be from the southeastern and western regions of the country. During the quarter, Direct (catalog/Internet) sales declined 0.9%, compared to a 3.6% increase last year. Sales for jcpenney.com increased more than 25% in the third quarter on top of a 30% increase last year.