FINANCE

Brookstone’s Profit Up

BY CSA STAFF

Nashua, N.H., Brookstone saw its profit rise 3% in the latest quarter on a surge in direct-marketing sales. The company said it earned $33.2 million, or $1.57 a share, on revenue of $237.8 million in the fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 29 compared to $32.1 million, or $1.55 a share, on revenue of $219.1 million in the year-ago period. Same-store sales were flat during the quarter, but direct-marketing sales rose 24.5% to $48 million.

For the full year, the company earned $21.4 million, or $1.02 a share, on revenue of $499 million. In the previous year, it earned $17.6 million, or 87? a share, on revenue of $434.2 million.

In 2005, Brookstone plans to open 20 stores, forecasts same-store sales growth of 2% to 3% and plans to continue to grow its Internet business. It also expects to increase the productivity of its catalog.

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FINANCE

Walgreen 2Q Profits Up

BY CSA STAFF

Deerfield, Ill., Walgreen Co. reported second-quarter profit of $490.9 million, or 48? per share, up from $431.6 million, or 42? per share, a year earlier. Sales increased 12.3% to $11 billion from $9.78 billion a year ago, while comp-store sales rose 7.7% for the quarter.

“Our results benefited from continued solid execution at our stores, especially during the important holiday selling season,” said chairman and CEO Dave Bernauer in a statement. “Although the cold and flu season peaked later this year than the previous year, the overall effect on the quarter was fairly comparable.”

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Former Penney Exec to Lead Mervyn’s

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas, Former J.C. Penney Co. executive Vanessa Castagna has joined private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, the New York-based company that is part of the investment group that acquired Mervyn’s Department Stores from Target Corp. last year. As a senior member of the Cerberus operations team, Castagna will take the helm of the Mervyn’s chain and will be charged with engineering the same turnaround for Mervyn’s as she did with J.C. Penney.

Castagna resigned from Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney last November when she was passed over for the top job in the company in favor of Mike Ullman, who replaced retiring CEO and chairman Allen Questrom.

Castagna was credited with helping turn J.C. Penney around by bringing in new brands and leading marketing campaigns that helped the chain win back customers from rival chains.

Castagna has held senior executive positions with Wal-Mart Stores, Target Corp. and Federated Department Stores.

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