• Q1 net profit up 6.7% to US$64m
  • Net sales edge up 0.4% to $3.94bn
  • Women’s, children’s apparel driving growth

Retailer JC Penney posted a 6.7% increase in first quarter profits, boosted by the performance of a number of exclusive and private brands.

Names such as Liz Claiborne, Worthington and St John’s Bay, alongside Sephora, MNG by Mango, Call It Spring and Modern Bride, sent comparable store sales up by 3.8% in the three months to 30 April, the US company said.

The slight sales rise of 0.4% in the period reflected the company’s exit from its catalogue business, JC Penney said, while highlighting the strong results of women’s apparel and accessories, and children’s apparel.

“Our ability to deliver on our objectives in the first quarter reflects the progress we are making in executing the Long Range Plan for growth we announced in April 2010,” said company chairman and CEO Mike Ullman III.

“We are successfully implementing our merchandising initiatives, with strong gains in both our men’s and women’s apparel businesses.”

JC Penney now expects full-year earnings per share in the range $2.15-2.25.