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Ascena Retail Q4 profit drops on charge, to open 125 to 135 stores

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Suffern, N.Y. — Ascena Retail Group, owner of the Dressbarn, Maurices and Justice chains, reported Wednesday that net income for the quarter ended July 30 fell to $28.2 million, from $42 million in the year-ago period on one-time charges and a shorter quarter for the performance slide.

On an adjusted basis, net income was up over last year, but still missed Wall Street expectations. Revenue rose 2% to $725.8 million, and same-store sales increased 7% overall. For the full fiscal year, Ascena earned $170.5 million. Its total revenue rose to $2.91 billion from $2.37 billion.

Our results were achieved in a very tough environment and we remained positioned for growth," David R. Jaffe, president CEO of Ascena, said in a statement. "We are certainly mindful of the pressures of today’s macro-economic environment and we are planning our business accordingly."

The company confirmed that it plans to open 125 to 135 stores, and close up to 35 in its new fiscal year.

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RadioShack welcomes Verizon with special offers

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH, Texas — RadioShack has announced that it is celebrating the arrival of Verizon Wireless products and services in more than 4,400 U.S. stores with a series of special offers.

RadioShack said it will offer $100 off most Verizon Wireless smartphones, including 4G LTE devices such as the Droid Bionic by Motorola, the Droid Charge by Samsung, the Revolution by LG and the ThunderBolt by HTC. RadioShack also will offer $100 off other 3G smartphones from Verizon Wireless, including the Droid X2 by Motorola and the Droid Incredible 2 by HTC, among other top-selling handsets. Offers are available only for a limited time for new or upgrade customers with qualifying two-year service agreement and data feature.

"The arrival of Verizon Wireless is a definitive enhancement of our multi-carrier retailing proposition. Consumers increasingly expect the freedom to compare and contrast their mobile phone choices in one convenient location," said Jim Gooch, president and chief executive officer for RadioShack Corp. "Giving consumers access to knowledgeable associates plus a wide range of carriers, rate plans, devices, services and accessories helps us build lasting relationships. RadioShack is now well positioned to continue our momentum with consumers in the mobility category."

RadioShack will also offer the $50 Unlimited prepaid plan from Verizon Wireless — featuring monthly unlimited talk, text and Web service on no-contract phones such as the Samsung Intensity II Prepaid, Pantech Caper, LG Revere or Verizon Salute. Customers who purchase a no-contract Verizon Wireless phone in-store at RadioShack will receive a $20 RadioShack gift card. Other offers to celebrate the Verizon Wireless launch include 25% off all cases and screen protectors matching Verizon Wireless devices.

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Q2 results leave Pier 1 confident heading into holidays

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH, Texas — Pier 1 reported sales and earnings growth for its second quarter, leaving president and CEO, Alex Smith confident about the future of the company heading into the holiday season.

Alex Smith, president and CEO, commented, “We are very pleased with the results of our second quarter. Sales growth and merchandise margins remain strong, and we continue to demonstrate the strength and sustainability of our business. Our growth plan is firmly on track, and we have returned value to our shareholders through the completion of our $100 million share repurchase program. It is hard to predict how the economy will fare over the next several months, but we fully expect our business to be successful through the fall and holiday selling season.”

Pier 1 Imports reported that net income for its second quarter ended Aug. 27 was $16.6 million, or 14 cents per share, compared with net income of $14.4 million, or 12 cents per share, for the same period last year.Total sales for the second quarter were $339.6 million, a 9.6% increase from $309.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Comparable-store sales increased 10.8% during the second quarter compared with last year’s comparable-store sales increase of 11.2% for the same period. According to the company, the sales increase for the quarter was primarily the result of increases in store traffic and average ticket.

For the year-to-date period, the company reported net income of $30.7 million, or 26 cents per share, compared with net income of $22.1 million, or 19 cents per share, for the same period last year. Total sales for the first six months increased 9.4% to $674.2 million from $616.1 million in the year-ago period. Comparable-store sales for the first six months increased 10.5% compared with last year’s comparable-store sales increase of 12.7% in the year-ago period.

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