J.C. Penney Chief Mike Ullman Upbeat About 2007

Source: nba.com

J.C. Penney Chief Executive Mike Ullman is upbeat about the retailer's prospects for 2007 -- even though the company lowered its first-quarter forecast below analysts' expectations earlier Thursday.

"We are very confident about the total year," Ullman told CNBC's Becky Quick. "The first quarter is not the strongest quarter in terms of the comparison."

He expects the company to make up for any first-quarter weakness throughout the rest of 2007. Ullman was particularly upbeat about the company's private brands, which are growing at a faster rate than other brands the retailer carries. Ullman said that 45% of sales are generated by the labels the company produces itself.

"We are quite optimistic that we balance the best of national brands with high quality brands we develop ourselves," he added.

Earlier Thursday, J.C. Penney released its fourth-quarter earnings, which fell 13% on a higher tax expense but beat analysts' expectations.