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Ascena CEO: Plan in place to save 7,500 Fashion Bug jobs, 600 Charming HQ jobs

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Philadelphia — Ascena Retail Group CEO David Jaffe has pledged to preserve the jobs of 7,500 employees at soon-to-be-shuttered Fashion Bug stores, as well as 600 workers at the headquarters of Charming Shoppes, according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ascena, which owns the Dressbarn, Justice and Maurices banners, acquired Charming Shoppes – and its Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines brands – on June 15.

Jaffe said that Ascena is committed for at least three years to the Bensalem, Pa., facility that housed executive and administrative offices for Charming Shoppes. It intends to consider Fashion Bug employees for placement at new stores that may replace some of those closing.

To read the Philadelphia Inquirer story, click here.

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Oct-11-2012 05:07 am

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STORE SPACES

Fresh Market closing in on first California stores

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Greensboro, N.C. — High-end grocer The Fresh Market is making a stand in California, as it prepares to open its first three stores in the state.

According to a Tuesday report by Investor’s Business Daily, Fresh Market has signed leases and begun construction on one store in Santa Barbara, one in Palo Alto and a third in Roseville. The grocer said it expects to open its first store in the state either late this year or early 2013.

The stores measure about 21,000 sq. ft., feature upscale design elements and typically compete with Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, both of which have a substantial presence in California.

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Kronos Retail Labor Index: Fewer people seeking retail jobs in June

BY Marianne Wilson

Chelmsford, Mass. — The Kronos Retail Labor Index edged up to 4.2% in June from a reading of 4.1% in May. The June reading reflected sharp declines in both applications and hiring. (The index is defined as the ratio of hires to applications within a given month, expressed as a percentage. A level of 3.0% means that for every 100 applications received, three hires occurred.)

The retailers representing 18,362 distributed locations across the U.S. that make up the Kronos data sample made 33,473 hires (seasonally adjusted) in June 2012, the lowest reading since October 2011.

While the June reading was down, the level in May was revised up nearly 11%, leaving the trend over the first half of the year still solid as firms hired slightly more than 35,000 workers per month, roughly 5% above the average number of hires made all of last year and about 10% above the average level in 2010.

The number of applications received by retailers included in the Kronos sample fell 11.1% to 797,852 in June 2012, from a level in May that was revised 10.9% higher, all on a seasonally adjusted basis. Applications have fallen in five of the last six months, and the level in June was more than 150,000 below its level one year ago.

“The Retail Labor Index has averaged 4.1% so far this year, six-tenths above its level last year, suggesting more favorable hiring conditions for those seeking employment opportunities in the retail sector,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, which prepares the analysis and write-up of the Retail Labor Index for Kronos Inc.

“This reflects not only reduced competition as the level of applications has fallen significantly over the last year but also some firming in hiring.”

Even with the drop in June, Varvares continued, hiring remains solid compared to last year, up 7.7% year-to-date.

“Overall, we view the recent readings on hires and applications in the Kronos sample as consistent with other labor market data, which point to a still gradual recovery in the retail labor market,” he said.

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