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Children’s Place narrows loss in Q2; to expand into India

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Secaucus, N.J. — The Children’s Place, Inc. reported a loss of $10.7 million in the quarter ended Aug. 2, compared to a loss of $23.6 million in the year-ago period. Sales edged up to $384.6 million, from $382.4 million for second quarter 2013.

Same-store sales increased 0.8%.

"Our sales improved significantly in the second quarter, reflecting a rebound in shopping activity with more normalized weather patterns,” said Jane Elfers, CEO. “While we expect the sector to remain highly promotional and the uncertainty surrounding the economy to continue, we are well positioned to compete effectively in the back half of 2014.”

Children’s Place also announced a partnership with Arvind Lifestyle Brands Limited to open stores in India. The first store openings – a total of 50 – are slated for fall 2015.

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Walmart prepares to expand Price First nationwide

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart plans to launch its opening price point private label, Price First, nationwide in late third quarter.

The Price First line has focused primarily on consumables, as peanut butter, baking mixes and condiments are among the items being offered on the first tier of a good, better, best marketing strategy. Walmart has piloted the Price First line across 400 stores in the Southeast since last fall and will now be expanding distribution across its entire store base.

"These initiatives are about changing with our customer," said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO. "We’re pushing to save [our customers] time and money, both in store and online," he said. "Customers are rational. They respond to low prices, innovative products and the service they expect. So, we must run stronger stores everywhere we operate, with better merchandising, in-stock levels and quality service. I’m confident that we can improve comp sales as we deliver on these priorities, and I’m bullish on our core business."

To ensure customers are in fact getting the best price at Walmart, the discount retailer two weeks ago rolled out a program called Savings Catcher nationwide, which leverages Walmart's data analytics capabilities to automatically match competitors’ ads, and "strengthen customers’ confidence that they are receiving the lowest advertised price on like items," Greg Foran, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, told investors.

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Another loss for Sears Holdings

BY CSA STAFF

Describing second-quarter earnings as "unacceptable," Sears Holdings chairman and CEO Edward Lampert added that his company's transformation is continuing and online sales are growing.

The company reported second-quarter net loss of $573 million, compared with a loss of $194 million in the same quarter last year. Revenues decreased $858 million to $8.0 billion for the quarter ended Aug. 2, 2014,

"We are taking steps to address our performance on several levels," Lampert said. "This includes reducing costs as we evolve our business model, investing in our Shop Your Way and Integrated Retail customer initiatives, rationalizing our physical footprint and improving pricing and promotions."

The revenue decrease included the separation of the Lands' End business, which was completed in the first quarter of 2014 and accounted for $330 million of the decline. The revenue decrease also included the effect of having fewer Kmart and Sears Full-line stores in operation, which accounted for $256 million of the decline, as well as a decrease of $140 million at Sears Canada.

Sears also experienced a revenue decline in its Home Services business during the quarter, as well as a decline in delivery revenues.

Sears full-line stores experienced comparable-store sales growth of 0.1% for the quarter as compared with a decline of 0.8% in the second quarter of last year, despite the continuing impact of consumer electronics industry trends.

Kmart comparable-stores sales were down 1.7% for the quarter as compared with a 2.1% decline last year.

Sales to Shop Your Way members in Sears full-line and Kmart stores increased to 73% of eligible sales, up from 71% during the second quarter last year. Online and multichannel sales grew 18% over the prior-year second quarter and 22% over the prior-year first half.

"We continue to evaluate our Sears Auto Center business, as well as our 51% interest in Sears Canada, including a potential sale of our interest or Sears Canada as a whole," the company said.

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