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JC Penney reports 4.9% hike in July same-store sales

Aug '06
Apparel giant JC Penney Company Inc has total department store sales increased 5.5 percent for the four weeks ended July 29, 2006.

On a comparable store basis, sales increased 4.9 percent, on top of a 1.6 percent increase in last year's period. All merchandise divisions had sales gains, with the best divisional performances in family shoes, women's accessories and men's apparel. Geographically, all regions had sales gains with the best results in the western and southeastern regions of the country.

Internet sales through jcp.com continue to represent the company's fastest growing sales channel, increasing approximately 21 percent in July on top of a 30 percent increase last year. Direct sales in total were flat for the period, consistent with previous guidance for sales to be flat-to-up slightly. Last year, Direct sales increased 4.0 percent.

While the company is entering the Back-To-School selling season with positive momentum, it continues to take a cautious approach toward future guidance given macroeconomic conditions. Accordingly, for the four-week August period, management guidance is for both comparable department store and Direct sales to increase slightly. In last year's August period, comparable department store sales increased 2.8 percent and Direct sales were flat.

Based on sales and operating performance trends, management now expects second quarter earnings from continuing operations to be approximately $0.71 per share, anincrease of $0.06 per share from previous guidance. This guidance reflects continued improvement in operating performance coupled with lower net interest expense. Management will address guidance for the back half of the year in the second quarter earnings release and conference call on Aug. 10.

JC Penney Corporation Inc, the wholly owned operating subsidiary of JC Penney Company Inc, is one of America's largest department store, catalog, and e-commerce retailers, employing approx. 151,000 associates.

JC Penney Company Inc

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