FINANCE

Destination Maternity Reports Q1 Loss

BY CSA STAFF

Philadelphia Destination Maternity said Tuesday that net sales for the first fiscal quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2008, decreased 5.6% to $134.8 million, from $142.9 million for the same time frame a year ago.

Same-store sales across 964 locations decreased 0.5%, compared to a 4.1% dip for across 1,352 stores during the first quarter of 2008. The company’s net income before a goodwill impairment charge was $0.1 million. This was an improvement over last year’s net loss of $0.4 million loss in the first quarter of 2008.

The retailer continues to reduce expenses and “control markdown levels while still reducing inventory levels,” said Ed Krell, CEO, Destination Maternity.

“This plan produced better-than-planned gross margin performance and lower-than-planned expenses for the first quarter,” he said. “This operational and financial control enabled us to beat our earnings guidance even with sales missing our guidance.”

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Staples expands ink, toner recycling program

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Staples announced that beginning Feb. 1, it will expand its ink and toner recycling program to award $3 in Staples Rewards on any brand of type of ink toner to customers who recycle these products.

In 2008, the company recycled more than 22 million ink and toner cartridges. With this program expansion, Staples expects to recycle more than 30 million cartridges in 2009 and become the world’s largest ink and toner recycler.

This expanded recycling program will make it even easier for customers to recycle their ink and toner cartridges while providing new ways to save money and be more eco-friendly. Customers can simply bring empty cartridges to any Staples store, each of which will earn them $3 back in Staples Rewards or Staples Teacher Rewards, on up to 10 cartridges per calendar month. Ink and toner recycling Staples Rewards are sent monthly and can be used on any Staples purchase in store, online or over the phone.

“The emergence of user-friendly ink and toner recycling programs like the one Staples is offering is an important step in helping Americans make more environmentally-friendly choices in their daily lives by keeping valuable products and materials out of the waste stream,” said Matt Hale, director of the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery of U.S. EPA.

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New competition in Walmart’s backyard

BY CSA STAFF

Target competes with Walmart in virtually every market where its 1,684 stores are located. But this spring, one market of particular interest will be Rogers, Ark.

The rapidly growing community in the Northwest corner of the state is adjacent to the town of Bentonville, where Wal-Mart’s headquarters are located. Target’s new store set to open March 8 is the retailer’s first in Benton County, and the closest to its arch rival’s headquarters. Previously, if Wal-Mart’s home office employees or its suppliers wanted to conduct competitive store visits, they traveled south to Washington County and the town of Fayetteville, where Target has operated a discount store for the past 10 years.

Target’s newest unit at 2404 Promenade Boulevard is adjacent to the new Pinnacle Hills Promenade mall. The new mall was a godsend to area residents hungry for convenient alternatives to shopping at Walmart, and that is likely to be the case with Target as well.

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