FINANCE

American Eagle disappoints in Q3, names merchandising exec

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pittsburgh – American Eagle reported disappointing results for the third quarter of fiscal 2013. Net income plummeted 68% to $24.9 million from $78.6 million, missing Wall Street projections.

Total net revenue of $857 million decreased 6% compared to $910 million last year. Same-store sales fell 5%.

American Eagle cited having fewer weeks in the third quarter of 2013 than in the same quarter of the prior year, as well as non-cash charges associated with the company’s previously disclosed plans to close its Warrendale, Pa., distribution center upon the opening of its new facility in Hazleton, Pa., as affecting its financial performance.

American Eagle also said intense holiday discounting negatively impacted fiscal results. The company predicts a mid single-digit percentage decline in same-store sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.

“Our financial performance is clearly unsatisfactory and not consistent with our objectives,” said Robert Hanson, CEO of American Eagle. “As we continue to navigate through an intensely promotional North American retail landscape, we are making improvements in merchandising and marketing, while aggressively pursuing efficiency gains, expense reductions and ensuring disciplined inventory management. We are continuing to invest in important areas of growth including omni-channel, global expansion and factory stores; all high-return segments, which diversify our business and will be key drivers of our future growth and success.”

American Eagle also appointed Chad Kessler as executive VP, chief merchandising and design officer for its namesake brand, reporting to Hanson. Kessler begins in his new role on Feb. 3, 2014, succeeding Fred Grover, who will stay with the company to ensure a smooth transition through mid-year, at which point he will retire.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

SAP: Social chatter around Black Friday, Cyber Monday rises

BY Dan Berthiaume

Waldorf, Germany — Black Friday social mentions more than doubled those of Cyber Monday this year. But a new infographic from SAP shows that consumers felt the most excited and happy about Cyber Monday.

Total volume of Black Friday mentions rose 495% compared to 2012, while total volume of Cyber Monday mentions increased 292%. Not surprisingly, online stores dominated Cyber Monday conversations, being mentioned in 46% of Cyber Monday posts. Big-box stores were mentioned in a leading 36% of Black Friday posts.

Other findings include:

  • Positive sentiment for shopping on Thanksgiving reached a low point of -4% at 9 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving Day and a high point of 38% at 11 a.m. ET Black Friday.
  • The apparel category increased its consumer sentiment by 1,900% in 2013 compared to 2012.
  • Average consumer sentiment increased 72% for Black Friday and 19% for Cyber Monday compared to the same period a year earlier.

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FINANCE

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores reports mostly negative Q3 results

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hoffman Estates, Ill. – Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores reported mostly negative financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2013. Net earnings fell about 12% to $7.69 million, from $8.76 million.

A 2% decrease in same-store sales and unfavorable calendar shift due to the 53rd week in fiscal 2012 offset slight growth in net sales to $561.1 million from $556.9 million.

“Sales of home appliances increased during the quarter, while sales of lawn and garden, consumer electronics, and apparel (which is only sold in Outlet Stores) declined,” said Bruce Johnson, CEO and president. “The fourth quarter of 2013 will be the last quarter where we will have a significant negative comparable store sales impact due to our exit from consumer electronics in most stores in our Hometown segment. In our Outlet segment, we completed the initial test of franchising and began rolling out this model, which generated higher initial franchise revenues in the quarter and allows us to continue our transition to an asset light, franchised operation. We also completed a successful test of furniture sales in our Outlet stores and have a limited selection of furniture inventory in place across the format for the holiday season. This continues our strategy of shifting our product mix toward higher margin categories, which began last fall with reductions in consumer electronics and expansion in mattresses and tools."

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