FINANCE

AmEx Business Insights report: Q4 spend increases across board

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — A report released Thursday by American Express Business Insights said that spending in the fourth quarter was up across the board, but the retail sector spend growth was more subdued despite the holiday shopping season.

According to the Q4 2010 Business Insights Spend Sights report, which evaluated actual, aggregated spending data between Sep. 1 and Dec. 31, 2010 in categories such as luxury retail, dining and entertainment, and travel, department stores appeared to receive the lion’s share of shopping activity, posting a 13% increase in spend over the year prior. Surprisingly, overall consumer spending on jewelry decreased by 2%, despite its longstanding popularity on holiday gift lists.

In another unexpected trend, consumers spent 5% less on home furnishings and furniture, which had been strong during the housing downturn.

“On the individual consumer front, spending increases were more subdued in general, despite the holiday season, but bright spots in specific sectors and regions point to a cautiously optimistic economic recovery,” said Ed Jay, senior VP at American Express Business Insights.

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News

Report: Tesco growth to outpace competitors

BY CSA STAFF

London — A survey released Thursday said sales growth at Britain’s Tesco PLC, the world’s third biggest retailer, will outpace its major international rivals — including Wal-Mart Stores — in coming years as it expands in Asia, the Associated Press reported.

The report by London-based food and grocery analyst IGD says that Tesco will grow its business at a compound annual rate of 7.5% between 2010 and 2015, taking sales to euro106 billion ($143 billion).

That contrasts with growth of 4.7% for Wal-Mart. But the American company will retain its position as the world’s biggest retailer in terms of sales.

Tesco has been expanding rapidly in China and other emerging markets.

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FINANCE

Liz Clairborne narrows loss

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Liz Claiborne narrowed its fourth-quarter loss as the company trimmed expenses. But it issued a lackluster outlook for its coming fiscal year.

The company said Thursday that it lost $30.1 million, compared with a loss of $41.7 million in the prior-year period.

Revenue dropped 7% to $703.7 million from $756.5 million, down mostly because of a transition in the licensing model under its J.C. Penney Co. and QVC deals.

Still, the results topped Wall Street’s $684.6 million

Revenue for its Lucky Brand fell 15.8%, while Kate Spade climbed 44.8% and Juicy Couture rose 15.9%. The international-based direct brands division posted a 4.6% revenue decline.

For the year, Liz Claiborne lost $251.5 million, compared with a loss of $305.7 million in the prior year.

Annual revenue slipped 14% to $2.5 billion from $2.92 billion.

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