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Shiny Quarter at J.C. Penney

Earnings from continuing operations rise 79%.
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J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Report

posted higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings Tuesday and issued a strong forecast for the rest of the year, extending its turnaround.

The department-store chain said it earned 50 cents a share for the quarter, including discontinued operations, compared to a loss of 2 cents a share for the same quarter last year. Earnings from continuing operations rose 79% to $122 million, or 46 cents a share, from last year's $68 million, or 22 cents a share.

Charges attributed to discontinued operations were related to the sale of J.C. Penney's Eckerd drugstore chain as part of its five-year turnaround campaign that focused on sprucing up its department stores and its Internet and catalog business.

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Analysts were expecting earnings of 40 cents a share, according to consensus estimates reported by Thomson First Call. Shares of J.C. Penney were recently trading up 10 cents, or 0.2%, to $52.

For the rest of the year, the company expects to earn 82 cents a share in the third quarter, matching Wall Street's expectations, and $1.52 a share for the fourth quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.50 a share. Its same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, and its Internet and catalogue sales are expected to increase in the low-single digits.

"We are entering the third quarter and the back-to-school selling season with momentum, and early results have been encouraging," the company said.

During the second quarter, the retailer's overall sales rose 5.4% to $3.98 billion on a same-store sales gain of 4.2%. Its Internet and catalogue sales rose 7.1%.

The company also said its earnings benefited from its share buyback plan. It added $400 million to its repurchasing plan, raising the total authorization to over $4 billion since last August.