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JC Penney's merchandise division sales achieves target

Jul '06
J. C. Penney Company Inc total department store sales increased 5.0 percent for the five weeks ended July 1, 2006. On a comparable store basis, sales increased 4.3 percent, on top of a 7.4 percent increase in last year's period.

All merchandise divisions had sales gains, with the best divisional performances in children's, fine jewelry and women's accessories. Additionally, men's and women's casual sportswear performed well. Geographically, all regions had sales gains with the best results in the western and southeastern regions of the country.

Direct sales increased 6.0 percent during the period on top of a 9.1 percent increase last year. Internet sales through jcp.com continue to represent the Company's fastest growing sales channel, increasing approximately 27 percent in June, on top of a 40 percent increase last year.

July Sales Guidance
For the four-week July period, management expects comparable department store sales to increase low single digits and Direct sales to be flat to up slightly. In last year's July period, comparable department store and Direct sales increased 1.6 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.

Earnings Outlook
Based on sales and operating performance trends through the June period, management is raising second quarter guidance for earnings from continuing operations to approximately $0.65 per share, an increase of $0.03 per share from previous guidance. This new guidance reflects improved operating profitas well as lower than anticipated net interest expense. With this increase, full year 2006 earnings from continuing operations are expected to be in the range of $4.29 to $4.39 per share.

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