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Chico’s Q2 beats expectations

BY Marianne Wilson

Fort Meyers, Fla. — Chico’s FAS Inc.’s second-quarter net income surged a better-than-expected 22% amid increased sales across its brands. The retailer, which has now topped analyst estimates for the last three quarters, raised the low-end of its 2012 revenue outlook, citing its performance for the first half of the year.

Chico’s earned $52.4 million for the period ended July 28, compared with $42.8 million in the same period last year.

Revenue rose 16% to $641.7 million, from $551.4 million. Boston Proper, a direct-to-consumer company that Chico’s acquired in September, contributed $32.6 million in sales.

Same-store sales increased 5.6%, with Chico’s/Soma Intimates brands up 7.2% and White House | Black Market sales were up 2.3%.

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Collective Brands on the sales block

BY CSA STAFF

TOPEKA, Kan. — Collective Brands stockholders voted at a special meeting on Tuesday to approve the sale of the company for about $1.32 billion.

Collective, which owns the Payless and Stride Rite shoe store banners, had announced in May that it accepted a purchase offer from a group that includes Wolverine Worldwide Inc., Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital.

The transaction will split Payless and Collective’s brand development and licensing arm into separate companies. Wolverine, which owns Hush Puppy, will acquire the Performance + Lifestyle Group, which includes Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds.

Blum Capital and Golden Gate will jointly acquire Payless and Collective Licensing International.

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Williams-Sonoma Q2 profit up 10%; to open four stores in Australia

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma Inc. said its second-quarter net income rose 10%, fueled by double-digit sales growth at its Pottery Barn and West Elm stores. The results beat analysts’ expectations and the company also raised its profit and sales predictions for the full year.

For the quarter ended July 29, Williams-Sonoma earned $43.4 million, up from $39.3 million in the same period last year.

Revenue rose 7% to $874.3 million, from $814.8 million last year. Same-store sales increased 7.4%, with an 11.7% increase at Pottery Barn and a 15.6% jump at West Elm. But the company’s namesake stores saw same-store sales dip 0.4%.

Similar to many retailers, Williams-Sonoma said it is cautious about its prospects for the second half of the year, given the continued economic uncertainty.

In other news, Williams-Sonoma said it plans to open four stores in Sydney, Australia, early next year. All of its store brands will be represented: Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm. They will be the first company-operated locations outside of North America.

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