FINANCE

A&P’s loss doubles in Q2

BY CSA STAFF

Montvale, N.J. The owner of the struggling Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. supermarket chain said in a news release Thursday it has completed the first phase of its turnaround plan by cutting jobs and reducing costs. It also announced that its second-quarter loss doubled in the period as revenue continued falling.

A&P lost $153.7 million in the three-month period ending Sept. 11, which was steeper than its loss of $80.3 million in the prior year. Revenue fell 7% to $1.92 billion, from $2.07 billion.

The company’s CEO Sam Martin said the quarter’s results were “disappointing” but said the company’s turnaround plan will help improve business. A&P also said it has cut headcount to save about $10 million a year. It is also targeting reducing general and administrative expenses by about $40 million a year.

Earlier this month, the company reported it was in talks to advisory firms to figure out how best to deal with its debt burden. It did not mention those talks in the new release. However, it said it has created a new executive management team, including Martin, who recently came to the company from OfficeMax, where he was COO.

The company, based in Montvale, N.J., also said it is negotiating with its banks and new lenders to add a new-money term loan to its asset-backed facility. The company said it is also contracted to sell seven stores in Connecticut. It recently closed 25 stores.

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ECOMMERCE

Survey: Online retailers expecting strong holiday sales

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. A survey released Thursday by Shop.org found that the majority of online retailers are expecting strong sales this holiday season.

Shop.org’s eHoliday Study, conducted by BIGresearch, found that 63.8% of retailers expect their company’s online sales to grow by 15% or more compared with last holiday season. That’s up from 45.7% of retailers who had those expectations last year.

The survey also found that 40% of online retailers will begin holiday marketing by Halloween, with another 40% planning to begin marketing the week of Nov. 1.

Four out of five online retailers (84.8%) will offer free shipping at some point during the holiday season, and 31.4% said these offers will begin earlier this year than a year ago. Shoppers may even see more free shipping deals this year, as 36.7% of retailers said their budget for free shipping is higher than last holiday season.

Social media will play a bigger role this holiday season, according to the survey findings. The majority of retailers (72.5%) say they have invested in the company’s Facebook page in advance of the holidays. Additionally, more than half said they have invested in cross-selling on product pages (54.9%), site search (54.9%) and customer ratings and reviews (52.9%). Another 43.1% said they have invested more this holiday season in a Twitter campaign or Twitter feed.

About one-third (32.2%) of online shoppers say they’ll make more of their holiday purchases on the web this year, listing 24-hour convenience (35.1%), easy price comparisons (33.1%) and a lack of desire to fight the crowds (30.8%) among the main reasons why they’re shifting a portion of their spending.

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FINANCE

Tractor Supply Q3 profit surges 46%, beats Street

BY CSA STAFF

Brentwood, Tenn. Farm and ranch supply retailer Tractor Supply Co. said late Wednesday that profit for the third quarter rose 46% to $32 million, compared with earnings of $22 million in the year-ago period.

The company cited increased sales of pet-related products and warm-weather items for the improvement.

Net sales rose 11% to $829.1 million, from $747.7 million. Wall Street expected revenue of $824.3 million.

Same-store sales rose 5%.

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