FINANCE

Aeropostale Q1 loss widens; same-store sales fall 13%

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Aeropostale Inc. reported a net loss of $76.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, up from the $12.2 million net loss it reported a year earlier. It also projected a second-quarter loss forecast bigger than analysts expected.

The struggling retailer, which has reported a loss for six consecutive quarters, had a generally difficult quarter overall, as net sales fell 12% to $395.9 million from $452.3 million and same-store sales decreased 13%. Aeropostale has reported declining comparable sales for seven straight quarters.

Aeropostale cited restructuring charges as contributing to its growing net loss, and also attributed some of its poor performance to the impact of weather and promotions.

In April, Aeropostale said it will close 125 mall-based P.S. from Aeropostale kids stores by the end of the fiscal year so it can focus on online sales, outlet stores, and licensing. It is also cutting some corporate jobs.

"As other retailers experienced, the macroeconomic environment was challenging during the first quarter with aggressive promotions, lower mall traffic, and unseasonable weather,” said Thomas P. Johnson, CEO of Aeropostale. “While our overall results were disappointing, we were able to exceed guidance and end the quarter with inventories well-controlled.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Google and Costco tops in compensation and benefits

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Google and Costco Wholesale Corp. came out on top in a survey of large companies with the best compensation and benefits for workers by jobs site Glassdoor. Rounding out the top five were Facebook, Adobe and Epic.

The ranking was based on an online anonymous survey that asked employees to rate how satisfied they were with their pay and benefits on a scale of 1 to 5. Costco and Google both received a score of 4.4 out of 5. Google ranked higher than Costco only by fractions of a point.

In general, tech companies made a strong showing in the top 25 survey. Intuit came in at No. 6; Salesforce at No. 9; Microsoft at No.18; and eBay at No. 25.

Click here for more survey results.

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FINANCE

Ross controls costs in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dublin, Calif. – By controlling inventory and expenses, Ross Stores Inc. was able to report a 4% increase in net income during the first quarter of fiscal 2014 despite bad weather and other negative factors. Net income totaled $243.9 million, up from $234.6 million in the same period the prior year.

First quarter 2014 sales increased 6% to $2.68 billion, up from $2.54 billion in first quarter 2013. Same-store sales rose 1%. Ross Stores expects same-store sales to grow 1%-2% during the second quarter of fiscal 2014.

"First quarter earnings per share performed at the high end of our guidance as strict inventory and expense controls offset the impact from unfavorable weather and a more challenging retail environment,” said Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and CEO, Ross Stores. “Sales trends improved in April with more seasonal spring weather that coincided with the later Easter shopping period.”

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