FINANCE

Big Lots cuts outlook; to acquire Canada’s Liquidation World

BY CSA STAFF

Columbus, Ohio — Big Lots on Thursday trimmed its expectations for the year amid a fall in first-quarter earnings. In a separate statement, Big Lots said it signed an agreement to buy the Canadian closeout retail chain Liquidation World.

Based in Brantford, Ontario, Liquidation World operates 92 stores in Canada. It is Big Lots’ first expansion outside of the United States

Big Lots posted earnings of $52.5 million for the period ended April 30, compared with $55.9 million a year earlier.

Net sales slipped 0.6% to about $1.23 billion from nearly $1.24 billion. Same-store sales fell 3.6%.

Big Lots shifted its product mix toward lower margin items early this year, which cut its gross margin rate during the quarter by 30 points. The company also cited rising costs for diesel fuel and freight costs.

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Panasonic names head marketer

BY CSA STAFF

SECAUCUS, N.J. — Panasonic Corporation of North America has appointed Betty Noonan to lead its marketing and branding functions. Noonan, who was most recently VP and director of Kodak’s worldwide consumer marketing operations, will be responsible for integrating the company’s marketing and enhancing the Panasonic brand.

"Panasonic expects Betty Noonan will energize and integrate our marketing efforts across divisions in the U.S. and Canada based on her leadership and her proven record of success in advancing brands," said Joseph Taylor, chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corp. of North America. "Betty is uniquely qualified to help Panasonic transform current marketing efforts in alignment with our long-term corporate goal of becoming the leader in green business innovation. Also, in an international organization like Panasonic, Betty’s global management expertise and perspective from 25 years of global brand marketing experience will play a very important role."

Noonan will serve concurrently as VP marketing and brand management for Panasonic Corporation of North America, and SVP marketing for Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company, the company’s consumer electronics sales division.

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FINANCE

Guess Q1 profit down 15%, narrows view

BY CSA STAFF

Los Angeles — Guess Inc. beat first-quarter revenue expectations, even though it also reported a 15% decline in net income. The company said net income fell to $42.7 million in the quarter ended April 30, compared with $50.3 million in the year-ago period.

Total revenue increased 9.8% to $592.2 million, beating analysts’ predictions of $567.7 million. Strength in Asia, where revenue rose 24%, drove the increase. Revenue in Europe also helped, rising 12%. Revenue in North America was the weakest, up 5%.

Same-store sales fell 3.1% in U.S. dollars.

In a Barrons report, Guess CEO Paul Marciano said the company focused on controlling inventory and costs, and that the year "is not without its challenges." He cited rising costs of cotton, fuel and other commodities that Guess needs to make and transport its goods, as well as "uncertainty in many economies around the world."

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