Same store sales increased 6% for the quarter. Online sales through jcp.com were $249 million for the quarter, up 16.7% versus the same period last year.
Women's and Men's apparel and accessories, Home and Fine Jewelry were the Company's top performing merchandise divisions in the quarter. Sephora inside JCPenney also continued its strong performance. Geographically, all regions delivered sales gains over the same period last year with the best performance in the southern and western regions of the country.
For the second quarter, gross margin was 36% of sales, compared to 29.6% in the same quarter last year, representing a 640 basis point improvement. Gross margin improved sequentially throughout the quarter and was positively impacted by improvement in the Company's clearance sales performance.
Inventory was $2.848 billion, down 9.7% compared to the same quarter last year. The Company noted it is pleased with the level, content and currency of its inventory.
SG&A expenses for the quarter were down $62 million to $964 million, or 34.4% of sales, representing a 410 basis point improvement from last year. These savings were primarily driven by lower store expenses, net advertising and corporate overhead as well as improved credit income.
Operating income for the quarter was a loss of $70 million which represents a $325 million or 82% improvement over last year. EBITDA was $90 million, a $342 million improvement from the same period last year. For the second quarter, the Company incurred a net loss of $172 million or )$0.56) per share. ■