Ascena profit drops in Q2; to open net 60 stores
Suffern, N.Y. — Ascena Retail Group reported Monday that adjusted net income for the quarter ended Jan. 26 dropped to $42.9 million, compared with $63.7 million in the year-ago period, due in large part to expenses associated with the company’s acquisition of Charming Shoppes.
Sales soared 44% to $1.2 billion from $862 million, driven by the added Lane Bryant and Catherine’s banners. Same-store sales dipped 1%.
“We continue to be excited by the growth and efficiency opportunities created by the integration of our acquisition and strategies to fully leverage our portfolio,” said David Jaffe, president and CEO, Ascena Retail Group.
The company is expected to open 100 to 120 stores in the spring, and close 40 to 60.
Report: Affluent shoppers increasingly optimistic about economy
New York — A report released Monday by Ipsos found that affluent optimism in the U.S. economy rose significantly in February.
According to Ipsos MediaCT’s February 2013 Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer – which defines affluent as at least $100,000 in annual household income – in February, 43% of Affluents were optimistic about the U.S. economy, up from 40% in December 2012, and 34% in October 2012. In contrast, only 36% described themselves as pessimistic in February 2013. In addition, 52% now believe they personally will be better off in 12 months, up from 41% in December 2012.
“Affluent optimism has risen in 2013, buoyed by the performance of stock and housing markets, as well as perceived improvements in the economy as a whole, and the job market in particular,” said Dr. Stephen Kraus, SVP and chief insights officer, Ipsos.
The Barometer found that luxury spending among Affluents will likely remain at current levels, but shows significant growth potential among Ultra Affluents, the 2%-4% of Americans with at least $250K+ household income. Ultra Affluent spending on luxury shows particularly strong growth potential in categories related to travel, apparel, accessories, watches and jewelry.
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Walmart Foundation serves up big bowl of philanthropy
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The Walmart Foundation is celebrating National Nutrition Month and National School Breakfast Week by giving $6.7 million in grants to five national nonprofit organizations that are providing children with school breakfast and helping families develop better eating habits. The grants are part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion cash and in-kind commitment through 2015 to help fight hunger in America and Walmart’s 2011 initiative to provide customers with healthier and more affordable food choices.
Grants to Action for Healthy Kids and the American Association of School Administrators will support programs that help more children start their school day with a morning meal, providing them with the nutritional substance they need to learn and grow. Additional grants to Common Threads, the Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center and the National 4-H Council will fund programs that empower people of all ages with the education and training they need to identify, shop for and prepare healthier meals.
"Through Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s ongoing commitment to help Americans live better, we are working to make nutritious food more accessible and affordable to children and adults across the nation," said Julie Gehrki , senior director of the Walmart Foundation. "Many Americans are not making a well-balanced diet part of their daily routine. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 25 percent of adults, and even fewer children, eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. Through these grants, we are proud to partner with nonprofits to assure families not only have access to the healthy food they need, but also are empowered with the knowledge to develop and maintain better eating habits so they can live long and healthy lives."
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