Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Walrt Stores, J.C. Penney Post Gains in Second Quarter

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Walrt Stores, J.C. Penney Post Gains in Second Quarter

Article excerpt

Associated Press

Walrt Stores Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. reported substantial increases in secondarter earnings Tuesday, reflecting the strength of retailers catering to budgetnscious consumers.

Nordstrom Inc., which serves more upscale shoppers, said its earnings fell 16.5 percent amid disappointing sales.

And Limited Inc., which has struggled for months with internal merchandising problems, said it was disappointed by flat earnings.

Walrt and other discounters have performed well throughout the recession, appealing to consumers searching for low prices. They have drawn customers away from highericed storeowners.

Penney, hit hard by the the recession, has come back by abandoning efforts to become an upscale retailer. Its lowericed merchandise has attracted more shoppers in recent months, and Penney has posted substantial sales increases.

But some upscale companies like Nordstrom continue to falter as shoppers continue to look for bargains and shy away from highericed stores.

Walrt Stores Inc. _ Walrt said it earned $420.4 million, or 37 cents a share, in the quarter ended July 31, up 21.5 percent from $345.9 million, or 30 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 27 percent to $13.15 billion from $10.3 billion.

Walrt has not broken stride since the death of company founder Sam Walton in April.

Walrt's revenue has shot up as it continued its aggressive expansion. As of July 31, the firm had 1,755 Walrt stores and 233 Sam's Clubs, compared with 1,627 Walrts and 184 Sam's Clubs a year earlier.

Firstlf profits rose 23.7 percent to $807.4 million, or 70 cents a share, from $652.8 million profit, or 57 cents a share, in the first six months of 1991.

Revenue rose 25.7 percent to $24.9 billion from $19.8 billion.

Limited Inc. _ Limited said it earned $80.1 million, or 22 cents per share, in the quarter ended Aug. 1, up 1.1 percent compared with $79.2 million, or 22 cents per share, a year earlier.

The clothing retailer reported sales of $1.49 billion, up 8 percent from $1.38 billion.

Chairman Leslie Wexner blamed "belowandard merchandising decisions" for the sluggish earnings. The company's Limited and Lerner divisions have been struggling as they try to appeal to more upscale customers. …

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