FINANCE

Charming Shoppes Announces Cost-Cutting Plan

BY CSA STAFF

Bensalem, Pa. Charming Shoppes Inc. Tuesday outlined a cost-cutting plan that includes closing stores and ending the Lane Bryant catalog.

The company said it began a restructuring plan with management consultants A.T. Kearney in an effort to save $100 million to $125 million over the next two fiscal years, with $75 million in savings occurring in fiscal 2010.

As part of the plan, Charming Shoppes will discontinue the Lane Bryant Woman catalog. The company recorded pretax charges of about $4.2 million associated with inventory write-downs and a pretax cost related to severance of $1.2 million from the move.

In addition, the company will close up to 100 stores in fiscal 2010, in addition to the 150 stores it plans to close during the current fiscal year.

Charming Shoppes also said it was working with management-consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates to increase the amount of clothes it designs and sources internally to improve the clothing assortment at its stores.

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Dillard’s to lay off 500 associates

BY CSA STAFF

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Dillard’s announced a strategic staff reduction of approximately 500 associates as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce operating expenses.

The work force reduction includes approximately 60 associates in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dillard’s employs approximately 60,000 associates nationwide and approximately 2,400 in the Little Rock area.

Dillard’s third-quarter sales for the 13 weeks ended Nov. 1, were $1.48, a 10% decrease from $1.63 billion in 2007. Comparable-store sales decreased 9%.

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Best Buy launches holiday microsite

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy has announced the launch of it’s new holiday microsite at www.AskABlueShirt.com. The site features interactive applications such as a Digital Note to Santa to “Hot Gift” and “Holiday Traditions” blog posts.

Best Buy BlueShirt technology Pros and Geek Squad agents are contributing posts based on consumer questions they are hearing in the stores – with topics ranging from new trends in photo sharing and accessorizing your iPhone to staying virtually connected to friends and family. In addition, a Holiday Wiki was developed as a portal to collect consumers’ favorite holiday traditions. BlueShirt bloggers will add tips on incorporating the latest in consumer electronics to those holiday rituals.

“We know consumers are looking for holiday gift giving advice and ways to engage with others across the country”, said Greg Johnson, senior vp of marketing for Best Buy. “The new holiday microsite is a fun way to not only share our knowledge and perspective, but to also learn what unique holiday traditions our customers engage in to make the holiday season even more enjoyable.”

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