OPERATIONS

Ann Inc. names new president for Ann Taylor division amid slumping sales

BY Staff Writer

New York City — Ann Inc. said that the president of its Ann Taylor brand, Christine Beauchamp, is leaving to pursue other opportunities. She will be replaced by Brian Lynch, who had been president of the Ann Taylor Factory and Loft Outlet divisions and led the website sales for those brands.

The news came as the chain cut its revenue prediction for the quarter that ended in January to a level below analyst expectations, citing slumping sales at its Ann Taylor stores.

The company said Thursday that it now expects revenue of $566 million for the November-January quarter, which makes up the key holiday selling period. In mid-November, it had predicted revenue of $580 million for its fiscal fourth quarter.

Online revenue and same-store sales rose 5% in the November-January period from the year before. However, the metric fell 11% at Ann Taylor stores. The measure rose 28% at Ann Taylor’s website and 6% in the brand’s factory stores.

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News

NRF: Consumers to show lots of spending love this Valentine’s Day

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON — Consumers are set to put out all the stops this Valentine’s Day, with the average person shelling out $126.03, up 8.5% over last year, according to NRF’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGinsight. Total spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion.

Consumers’ “better halves” will shell out the most on their partners, with the average person planning to spend $74.12 on their spouse or significant other, up from $68.98 last year. Additionally, consumers will spend and average of $25.25 on their children, parents or other family members and $6.92 on friends. And don’t forget pets: The average person will spend about $4.52 on their pets.

The survey also found the average male is expected to spend $168.74 on clothing, jewelry, greeting cards and more this year — nearly twice as much as women who are expected to spend an average of $85.76.

In addition to traditional gift ideas, those celebrating the holiday will also put some serious thought into the perfect gift. More than eight in 10 (18.9%) will buy jewelry, the highest percent in the survey’s history. Total spending on jewelry is expected to reach $4.1 billion, up from $3.5 billion last year.

Additionally, 50.5% all celebrants will buy candy, 36% will buy flowers and 35.6% will treat someone to a nice evening out.

Though discount stores are expected to see the most traffic (37.0%), one-third of shoppers (33.6%) will head to department stores, up from 30.5 percent last year. Nearly 19.3% will shop online for gifts this Valentine’s Day. Others will shop at specialty stores (20.2%), floral shop (17.8%), jewelry stores (10.6%) and specialty clothing stores (6.6%).

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FINANCE

Discounters post solid results for January; Macy’s misses estimates

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — The nation’s discount chains reported solid results for January, with Target Corp., TJX Cos., and Costco Wholesale Corp. all reporting gains above expectations. Overall, discounters reported stronger results than department stores, which appeared to take a greater hit due to the unseasonably warm weather and heavy promotions.

As the first month of the year, January accounts for only 20% November-January sales, and 7% of annual sales, according to RetailMetrics.

Costco continued its winning ways as its same-store sales climbed 8% in January, helped by strong sales of food, small appliances and men’s apparel, along with higher gas prices. Results topped expectations for a 6.1%.

At Target, same-store sales increased 4.3% in January, better than the 2.1% increase rose analysts had predicted. The chain cited shoes, healthcare products and boys’ and girls’ clothing as among its strongest categories. Weaker categories included electronics and books.

Macy’s had a 2.4% increase, which was below the 3.5% increase that analysts had expected. However, the chain raised its guidance for the fourth quarter — which did not include January — and for the full year.

For the four-weeks ended Jan. 29, Macy’s said its total sales rose 2% to $1.34 billion, from $1.31 billion in the year-ago period. Online sales jumped 38.7% in January.

Total sales for the fiscal fourth quarter rose 5.5% to $8.72 billion. Fourth-quarter online sales jumped 40% and boosted the company’s same-store revenue for the quarter by 1.7 percentage points, Macy’s said.

"The fourth quarter was our strongest in many years, and demonstrated the continued progress in improving the fundamentals in our business at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s," said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy’s.

In other discounter/department store same-store sales results for January:

  • Kohl’s reported a 0.6% rise compared with the year-ago period, just above forecasts for 0.5%. Total sales advanced 2.4% to $844 million.
  • TJX Cos. said its sales rose 7%, easily ahead of forecasts for a 3.3% gain. The company raised its fourth-quarter guidance.
  • Saks’ sales rose a better-then-expected 10.5%, driven by sales of women’s apparel, handbags and men’s accessories.
  • Big Lots Inc. reported a 7.7% increase and raised its fourth-quarter earnings outlook above analysts’ estimates.
  • Nordstrom’s sales rose 5% versus a year earlier. Total sales for the chain climbed 13.2% to $688 million.
  • Fred’s reported that its sales decreased 0.8%.
  • The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. reported a 3.5% decrease, and blamed the poor performance to a mild winter.
  • At Dillard’s, sales were unchanged for January compared with a year ago.
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