FINANCE

Build-A-Bear Workshop narrows loss

BY Marianne Wilson

St. Louis — Build-A-Bear Workshop posted a narrower-than-expected loss for the first quarter. The retailer reported a net loss of $1.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, down from a loss of $2.3 million last year.

Consolidated net retail sales of $95.2 million represented a 1.6% increase compared to $94.2 million. Revenue came in at $96.4 million, missing the $97.6 million analysts had expected. Same-store sales in the quarter rose 3.6% in North America. Overall same-store sales rose 1.2%.

At the end of the quarter, Build-A-Bear Workshop operated 348 company-owned stores – 290 in North America and 58 in Europe.

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FINANCE

Walgreens and Rite Aid report April results

BY Staff Writer

New York — Walgreen Co. said Thursday that same-store sales slipped a worse-than-expected 6.4% in April, largely due to its split with pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Inc.

For April, Walgreens’ same-store pharmacy sales were down 8.9%. Front-end sales fell 2.2%

At April 30, Walgreens operated 8,307 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam

Rite Aid Corp. said that its same-store sales increased 2.9% in April. Pharmacy same-store sales were up 3%, while front-end same-store revenue rose 2.7%.

Rite Aid operated 4,658 stores as of April 28, down from 4,705 in the same period last year.

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Despite earlier Easter, Limited, Ross, Limited deliver strong sales

BY CSA STAFF

NEWYORK — Several apparel retailers, including Limited Brands, Zumiez and Ross Stores, posted better-than-expected sales in April. It was widely expected that an earlier Easter, which pushed demand into March, and cool weather would hurt sales.

Limited Brands, parent of Victoria’s Secret, reported a 7% rise in same-store sales for April, beating estimates.

Teen clothing retailer Zumiez also beat expectations with a 10.1% gain in April. The Buckle’s same-stores sales edged up 1% slightly higher than analysts’ estimates.

At Hot Topic Inc., same-store sales rose 7.5% in the first quarter, with sales up at both its namesake and Torrid chains. The company also raised its first-quarter earnings projection above analyst expectations, but second-quarter guidance missed expectations.

Ross Stores Inc. said its same-store sales jumped 7% in April, beating Wall Street predictions and prompting the discount clothing retailer to boost its first-quarter profit guidance.

But April was not kind to all apparel retailers. The Wet Seal Inc. reported a 9.6% decrease in same-store sales, a bigger drop than analysts expected, hurt by lower demand for tops and jewelry. Sales fell 9.1% at namesake stores and 12.1% at its Arden B chain.

Gap Inc.’s April same-store sales fell 2%, a bigger decline than analysts expected. But the retailer also gave a fiscal first-quarter earnings guidance above Wall Street’s expectations, and its February-April quarterly revenue beat analysts’ estimates.

Gap said its namesake and Banana Republic stores in North America posted gains in same-store sales in April, while Old Navy North America and international stores declined.

The Cato Corp. said that its same-store sales fell 6% in April, partly because Easter fell earlier than last year.

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