REAL ESTATE

Abercrombie & Fitch closing 180 U.S. stores by 2015

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New Albany, Ohio — Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries told analysts during a conference call Wednesday that the teen retailer would close 180 U.S. stores by 2015.

The chain will target underperforming locations for closure, and by shuttering them hopes to boost image and profits. Specific stores slated for closure have not yet been announced.

Last year, Abercrombie & Fitch closed 71 U.S. stores. But its international presence continues to grow. In Europe, it has opened five namesakes and 29 Hollister stores since 2007. In December, it opened its first Singapore store and made its China Hollister debut, in Hong Kong, in August. A third Chinese location is slated to open in March.

"We see growing awareness and familiarity with our brands in China as a major opportunity," said Jeffries.

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FINANCE

Nordstrom Q4 profit up 1.7%, to open 15 stores in 2012

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Seattle — Nordstrom reported Thursday that net earnings for the quarter ended Jan. 28 rose 1.7% to $236 million, compared with $232 million in the year-ago period.

Sales rose 12.5 % to $3.17 billion, and same-store sales increased 7.1%. Nordstrom Rack sales rose 17.7% in the quarter, to $85 million.

For the full year, total net sales were $10.5 billion, representing the highest in the company’s history. Net earnings were up 11.4% to $683 million, compared with $613 million a year earlier.

Nordstrom has announced plans to open one full-line department store – at City Creek Center in Salt Lake City, in March — as well as 14 Nordstrom Rack stores in fiscal 2012.

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OPERATIONS

Sears cuts 100 headquarters staff

BY Staff Writer

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — A spokesman for Sears Holdings Corp. said that the owner of Sears and Kmart stores is cutting 100 jobs at its headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

According to Chris Brathwaite, Sears spokesman, the cuts cover a range of positions. The terminated employees were notified Thursday.

The retailer has not said whether additional cuts are planned.

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