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Big 5 Sporting Goods Q2 profit up; revenue disappoints

BY Dan Berthiaume

El Segundo, Calif. — Big 5 Sporting Goods reported that its second-quarter profit more than doubled from a year ago on higher sales and expanding margins, but its revenue fell short of expectations.

The sporting goods’ retailer said its net income increased to $6.1 million for the period ended June 30, up from $2.6 million in the year ago period. Net sales climbed 5.9%, to $239.9 million, below the $244 million expected by analysts.

Same-store sales increased 4.4%, compared to a 5.2% lift in the second quarter of the previous year. A shift in the timing of Easter and ongoing merchandise and marketing initiatives helped drive strong net sales results, although a shift in the Fourth of July had a negative impact.

"We are pleased with our second quarter financial results as we continued to see the underlying performance of our business strengthen," said Steven G. Miller, the company’s chairman, president and CEO. "We experienced a slight improvement in customer traffic and a mid-single-digit increase in average sale, and our same store sales improved for each of our major product categories of apparel, footwear and hardgoods."

Looking ahead, Big 5 Sporting Goods forecasts same-store sales in the positive low single-digit range and earnings per diluted share in the range of $0.40 to $0.45. The company said it plans to open four new stores and close one store, as part of a relocation, during the quarter.

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Five Guys gets social with fries

BY Dan Berthiaume

Lorton, Va. – In order to quickly detect customer service problems and quantify customer requests, Five Guys Burgers and Fries has implemented social intelligence technology from newBrandAnalytics (nBA). Using nBA solutions, Five Guys monitors social media chatter to help the company implement operational changes and improve engagement with customers. Five Guys also leverages the technology to gauge interest in potential new menu items.

For example, when Five Guys was recently considering introducing a smaller size French fry order based on customer requests, the company was not sure if demand was widespread enough to provide ROI on the item. According to Five Guys public relations official Molly Catalano, Five Guys employed nBA technology to monitor social media commentary and determine that in fact there was widespread demand for a smaller French fry option.

“With nBA’s insight we could see that the desire for a smaller fry was spread widely across many markets and demographics, so we decided to test what we called the ‘Little Fry’ in a variety of markets,” said Catalano. “The test went really well in all the target markets and, as a result, we rolled out the ‘Little Fry’ system-wide. The feedback loop continues through social media and we have actually gotten almost nothing but positive feedback from our customers. They are so happy that we listened and that we’re offering the little fry now, which truly feels like a big win for us.”

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Lands’ End: Parents will spend up to $100 for first day of school outfit

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dodgeville, Wis. – Spending for back-to-school apparel looks strong this year, with more than 95% of parents willing to spend up to $100 just on an outfit for the first day of school. Results of the Lands’ End 2013 Back to School Survey also indicate 92% of parents say a backpack is the single most important back-to-school item for purchase this year.

In addition, most parents get their back-to-school shopping information from friends (30%) or company websites (26%). Somewhat surprisingly, 64% of kids surveyed said that shopping is their favorite part of getting ready for the first day of school.

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