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Abercrombie & Fitch settles overtime suit

BY Dan Berthiaume

New Albany, Ohio — Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. have offered to pay about $4,000 to one assistant manager for failing to pay proper overtime wages from May 16, 2010 to present, in connection with a lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York. Abercrombie agreed to pay the assistant manager’s attorney’s fees and court costs to be determined by the court.

The claims arose under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and asserted that Abercrombie violated the FLSA by failing to pay Assistant Managers all wages due and owing to them for working more than 40 hours a week. Abercrombie did not pay overtime to the assistant manager at time and one-half, and Plaintiffs alleged that its practice violated the law.

Abercrombie said that the amount offered to the assistant manager includes all overtime wages owed plus liquidated (double) damages, and interest. The full number of Abercrombie assistant managers who were subject to Abercrombie’s pay practice is not known.

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NCR releases iPad POS solution with loyalty feature

BY Dan Berthiaume

Duluth, Ga. – NCR has released the NCR Silver subscription-based iPad POS solution aimed at helping small businesses create, run and manage reward programs. Loyalty complements the existing automated email and social marketing functionality in NCR Silver, making it even easier for cafés, shops, restaurants, boutiques, food trucks, and any small business to reward customers for repeat purchases.

Loyalty fits seamlessly into the checkout process, automatically tracking rewards with each sale so customers see exactly what they have earned and eliminating the need for paper punch cards. Rewards and customer information reside on the NCR Silver POS system and merchants retain all the data rather than share it through a third-party loyalty application.

“Satisfying your best customers is critical to the success of every small business,” said Justin Hotard, general manager, NCR Silver. “We added loyalty to go along with email marketing, customer history, and reporting to make NCR Silver the perfect fit to grow any small business.”

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Costco Q2 profit falls 15%; will open 14 U.S. stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Issaquah, Wash. – Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a bigger-than-expected 15% drop in net income for the second quarter amid deep-discounting during the holidays. Net income in the quarter ended Feb. 16 fell to $463 million from $547 million.

Costco blamed the lower earnings on several factors, including weaker sales of certain nonfoods merchandise categories and lower international profits. The year-ago period was also helped by a tax benefit.

The company noted that last year’s net income was positively impacted by a $62 million tax benefit.

“Even with that distinction, however, the year-over-year comparison was unfavorable,” said CFO Richard Galanti. “Despite satisfactory sales results during the second fiscal quarter, several other factors led to lower earnings. These factors included: weaker sales and gross margin results in certain non-foods merchandise categories, particularly during the four-week holiday selling season; weaker gross margins in our fresh foods business; and lower reported international profits, resulting from the significant weakening of foreign exchange rates.”

Net sales increased 6% to $25.76 billion, from $24.34 billion. Total same-store sales rose 3%. Costco cited a positive tax benefit the company received in fiscal 2012, as well as weaker sales and gross margins in several product categories and unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates as impacting its net income.

Costco also said it plans to open 14 new stores in the U.S. by the end of fiscal 2014.

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