J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP) on Tuesday reported quarterly profit jumped 57 percent on stronger sales and lower interest expense.

The department store operator also said it expects to report fiscal full-year earnings in line with Wall Street's average expectation of $3.51 per share.

J.C. Penney, working to transform its image as dowdy mid-priced department store into a mainstream store with fashionable offerings, said income rose to $234 million, or 94 cents per share, for the third quarter ended October 29, from $149 million, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier.

Wall Street, on average, expected earnings of 92 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Net sales rose to $4.48 billion from $4.39 billion.

J.C. Penney is wrapping up a 5-year turnaround plan, selling its money-losing Eckerd drugstore chain and focusing on its department stores and related Internet and catalog business.

It repurchased 23.8 million shares of common stock in the quarter as part of its ongoing stock buyback program.

For the fourth quarter, the retailer expects earnings from continuing operations of approximately $1.58 per share, compared with the Wall Street target of $1.57 per share.

Its shares are up 30 percent for the year to date, compared with a 2 percent rise for rival Kohl's Corp. (KSS) and a 1 percent decline in the Standard & Poor's Retailing Index.