FINANCE

Another department store retailer cuts sales outlook in wake of gloomy holiday

BY Marianne Wilson

Hudson's Bay Co. is the latest department store retailer to report weak holiday sales.

The Canadian retailer, whose banners include Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, reported a 0.7% decrease in consolidated comparable sales in the nine-week holiday selling period that ended Dec. 31.

"On a constant currency basis, the comparable sales trend improved for the company overall and across every banner, led by strong digital sales growth of 21.7% at our department store banners,” stated CEO Jerry Storch. “However, the sales improvement that we experienced was not strong enough to achieve the results we had expected. While we were pleased with our performance at Hudson's Bay in Canada, the retail environment has remained challenging in the U.S. and Europe and the significant promotional activity during the holiday period had a negative impact on our margins.”

Hudson's Bay now forecast 2016 sales of C$14.4 billion-C$14.6 billion ($10.90 billion-$11.05 billion), compared with its reduced guidance of C$14.5 billion-C$14.9 billion in November.

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POS/PAYMENTS

C-store giant prepares for POS change

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

With an eye on customer engagement, 7-Eleven is upgrading its point-of-sale fleet chainwide.

7-Eleven entered into an agreement with NEC, making the technology company its exclusive POS provider. Overall, 8,600 7-Eleven stores throughout the United States and Canada will be outfitted with the TwinPOS G5100, a POS system that also features a sleek, durable customer display to run promotions, share information, and create a personalized shopping experience.

“We wanted to reach tech-savvy customers with a POS system that would streamline operations and improve customer engagement,” said Raj Ka-poor, CIO and senior VP at 7-Eleven. “Providing an engaging digital in-store experience is something we are investing in for the long-term and NEC has the best POS hardware and software to take us there.”

As part of the agreement, NEC will offer full service desk and mainte-nance support for the next five years. This fully integrated development and support service will help 7-Eleven provide an engaging customer ex-perience while offering an attractive lower total cost of its POS systems and equipment.

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FINANCE

Specialty apparel giant cuts outlook on poor holiday

BY Marianne Wilson

Ascena Retail Group Inc. cut its earnings outlook as poor sales moved it into a highly promotional stance during the holiday period.

The operator of Ann Taylor, Loft, Dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Maurices and Catherines said total same-same sales declined 3.1% during the November/December period.

Same-store sales were down across all Ascena’s banners with the exception of its kids fashion segment (includes the Justice chain) which posted a 2.7% increase. Ann Taylor saw the biggest decline, with an 8.2% drop in same-store sales.

“We were disappointed by our overall holiday performance,” said David Jaffe, president and CEO. “Outside of discrete peaks during the holiday season, we experienced stronger than expected store traffic headwinds. As a result, we were forced into a more highly promotional stance in order to move through inventory in the face of softer overall consumer demand. At this juncture, we are positioning our full year outlook assuming that the trend we experienced through holiday continues.

Ascena said it now expects fiscal 2017 non-GAAP EPs to be in the range of $0.37 to $0.42 for the 52-week period ending July 29, 2017. That compares to a prior forecast for non-GAAP EPS to be in the range of $0.60 to $0.65 and it incorporates the company's revised fiscal second quarter guidance, which calls for a non-GAAP loss of $0.08 to $0.11 per share versus its prior guidance of breakeven to a loss of $0.05 per share.

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