Jewelry sales help J.C. Penney profit

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. saw net income for the fourth quarter double, helped by strong sales of clothing, jewelry, and home goods, The Associated Press reports.

The Plano, Tex.-based retailer earned $202 million in the quarter ended Jan. 25. That compared to $95 million a year earlier.

Revenue was nearly flat at $9.55 billion, compared to $9.54 billion a year ago.

Same-store sales rose 1.9% at Penney department stores and 2.5% at Eckerd drug stores.

The retailer’s catalog sales continued to stumble, with sales falling 20.7%, but Internet revenues rose 21.4%.

Penney has been slashing costs, including closing stores and laying off employees over the past two years, as part of chairman and chief executive Allen Questrom’s five-year turnaround plan for the venerable retailer.

Questrom said the department store and Eckerd divisions had both increased profit margins by about 1 percentage point per year.

For its fiscal year that ended Jan. 25, Penney reportedly said it earned $405 million compared to $98 million in 2001.

Revenue rose slightly to $32.35 billion from $32 billion the year before. Same-store sales for the year rose 2.6% at Penney’s and 5.2% at Eckerd.

Penney operates about 1,000 department stores and 2,600 drug stores.