FINANCE

American Apparel to roll out SWAGG mobile application

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta Mobile-commerce enabler Firethorn Holdings, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, said late Thursday that American Apparel will implement the SWAGG mobile application once it is released for use.

American Apparel will accept the SWAGG mobile application in time for the 2010 holiday season, according to Firethorn.

The SWAGG application will allow consumers to give and get gift cards, receive personalized offers geared to their individual interests, and keep current with their loyalty programs — all from their mobile device, according to Chip Fishburne, VP financial and merchant services at Firethorn Holdings. “Collaborating with American Apparel, a worldwide apparel company, aligns two brands whose consumers live the mobile lifestyle,” he said.

“We are excited to work with SWAGG as it provides American Apparel with new functionality for our gift card channel,” said Stacey Shulman, director of Global IT – Retail at American Apparel. “We believe that this new distribution channel will bring value to the American Apparel brand and make it more convenient for our consumers to buy, share and send virtual gift cards this holiday season.”

SWAGG is Firethorn’s direct-to-consumer offering, with “smart” technology that gives consumers the ability to purchase, personalize and exchange gift cards directly from a mobile device. SWAGG will also provide consumers mobile access to account information, special offers and loyalty programs.

Los Angeles-based American Apparel is a vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor and retailer of branded fashion basic apparel operating more than 280 retail stores in 20 countries.

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Michaels comps down for the quarter

BY CSA STAFF

IRVING, Texas Michaels Stores reported that total sales for the quarter were $847 million, a 1% increase from fiscal 2007 first quarter sales of $839 million. Same-store sales for the comparable 13-week period decreased 2.9%.

Ceo, Brian Cornell, said, “While our overall comps for the first quarter declined 2.9%, we were very encouraged with the sales of our kids and specialty craft categories, scrapbooking and frame and art supplies. Sales in April showed a reversal of trend with same-store sales up 3.1% on a strong increase in transactions. This positive sales and transaction performance gives us confidence that our new marketing and merchandising programs are connecting with our Michaels customers.”

For fiscal 2008, the company expects same-store sales growth  to be approximately flat given the current economic environment.

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Kirkland’s 1Q sales up 2.1%

BY CSA STAFF

JACKSON, Tenn. Kirkland’s reported that net sales for the first quarter ended May 3 increased 2.1% to $84.1 million from $82.3 million for the first quarter ended May 5, 2007. Comparable-store sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 increased 4.3% compared with an 18.8% comparable-stores sales decrease in the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

The company reported a net loss of $2.6 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, for the 13-week period ended May 3, 2008, compared with a net loss of $7.5 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, in the 13-week period ended May 5, 2007.

Robert Alderson, Kirkland’s president and ceo, said, “The first quarter results reflect strong merchandising execution and the benefits of aggressive financial initiatives that have reduced our operating costs, improved cash flow and strengthened our liquidity. During the quarter, we experienced improved customer conversions as shoppers have reacted very favorably to our merchandise mix. The positive comparable-store sales and trimming of unproductive stores led to leveraging of occupancy and distribution costs. Combined with an improvement in merchandise margin and a year-over-year reduction in operating costs of almost $5 million, we were able to post a significant improvement in our pre-tax results.

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