J. C. Penney, the nation's third-largest retailer, said Tuesday that its fiscal second-quarter profit jumped 53.3% over a year ago because it had solid sales gains and fewer markdowns.
No. 5 Wal-Mart Stores posted a 33.5% gain. F. W. Woolworth, ranked seventh, said its profit jumped 30%. The smaller Zayre said its profit plummeted 43.5% because of disappointing sales.
However, the Limited, a fast-growing specialty store retailer, reported record sales and net income for the period. And Nordstrom, an expansion-minded Seattle-based chain of apparel stores, showed sharply higher results.
Penney, which is based in New York, said its net income for the three months ended July 26 came to $46 million, compared to $30 million in the same period a year ago. Sales increased 6.9% to $3.22 billion from $3.01 billion.
Improved Profit Margins
For the first six months of its fiscal year, Penney said net income jumped 36% to $109 million from $80 million. Sales in the same period rose 7.7% to $6.27 billion from $5.82 billion.
Fast-growing Wal-Mart, which has headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., said its second-quarter net income came to $95.86 million, compared to $71.81 million a year ago. Sales soared 43.5% to $2.77 billion from $1.93 billion.
New York-based F. W. Woolworth said net income came to $35 million, compared to $27 million a year ago.
Zayre, based in Framingham, Mass., said its net income for the quarter fell to $9.04 million before an extraordinary charge of $3.43 million for the redemption of senior subordinated debentures. In the year-ago quarter, Zayre had net income of $15.99 million. Sales spurted 35.4% to $1.21 billion from $895 million.
The Limited, based in Columbus, Ohio, said second-quarter sales rose 32% to $695 million while net income increased 56% to $40.2 million. The company operates the Limited, Limited Express, Lane Bryant and Victoria's Secret.
At Nordstrom, sales for the period were $448.8 million, up 29%. Net earnings rose 47% to $20.5 million.