The Plano, Texas, retailer made $175 million, or 78 cents a share, from continuing operations for the quarter ended Aug. 4. That compares with the year-ago continuing operations profit of $178 million, or 75 cents a share.
Sales rose 3.6% from a year ago to $4.39 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a 77-cent profit on sales of $4.42 billion.
"Our second quarter performance speaks to the strength of our strategies to make a deep connection with our customers and drive growth in our business, even in what has been a challenging retail environment," said CEO Mike Ullman.
J.C. Penney raised its full-year earnings target by a penny to $5.50 a share. Analysts were looking for $5.48.