FINANCE

Earnings Roundup: Williams-Sonoma, Family Dollar, Dress Barn

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco, Williams-Sonoma Inc. recorded net earnings of $102.6 million in its recently completed fourth quarter, up 0.5% from the same quarter a year before. The figure includes a $10.7 million charge related to a lease accounting adjustment. Net revenues for the quarter increased 7.9% to $1.08 billion on same-store sales growth of 1.5%. For the fiscal year, the merchant’s net earnings increased 14.6% to $180.1 million, aided by a 13.9% increase in net revenues to $3.14 billion and same-store sales growth of 3.5%.

• Family Dollar Stores Inc. posted net income of $80.1 million in its second quarter, down 0.4% from the year-ago period. The decline was partly due to a change related to the company’s lease accounting procedures. Sales rose 13.1% to $1.59 billion in the quarter, supported by same-store sales growth of 4.5%.

• The Dress Barn Inc. reported net earnings of $1.6 million in its recently completed second fiscal quarter, down from $3.7 million in the year-ago period. Dress Barn’s most recent earnings figure includes a negative impact of $2.1 million stemming from the costs of acquiring and integrating its new Maurices Inc. unit. Net sales rose by 17% to $200.1 million, thanks in part to the addition of Maurice’s 470 stores. Same-store sales increased by 2%.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Digital Signage Entertains at Hollister Co

BY CSA STAFF

Las Vegas, At GlobalShop 2005, PlayNetwork Inc. announced the release of a case study detailing retailer Hollister’s use of digital signage for in-store entertainment. Live video footage from Huntingdon Beach, Calif., is distributed via closed-circuit network and broadcasted on large “Video Windows” in Hollister stores nationwide. The 5-ft. by 5-ft. liquid-crystal screens are displayed in 3-by-3 configurations.

“This is the first retail digital-signage and entertainment system of its kind featuring 24/7 real-time video for a specific in-store experience,” said Darrell Champagne, PlayNetwork’s VP systems engineering. The technology is just one example of how retailers are using digital signage for in-store branding and to enhance the shopping experience.

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FINANCE

Barnes & Noble 4Q Profits Down

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Barnes & Noble, Inc. reported earnings of $115.6 million, or $1.56 per share, for the three months ended Jan. 29, compared with $130.2 million, or $1.65 per share, in the year-ago period. The 11% decline in fourth-quarter profits was influenced by the spin-off of its GameStop division. Sales for the fourth-quarter were $1.67 billion, compared with $1.59 billion in the same period a year ago. Store sales increased 5% to $1.4 billion for the quarter, while comp-store sales rose 1.7%. The bookseller opened 32 new stores and closed 13 branches during the year, ending with 666 stores.

Sales for the B. Dalton division, which comprise about 4% of total bookstore sales, were $60.9 million for the quarter, which is a 24% decrease over the year-ago period. B. Dalton comp-store sales declined 3.2% for the fourth quarter.

For the fiscal year, earnings were $143 million, or $1.93 per share, vs. $151.8 million, or $2.07 per share, a year ago. Total sales for the year were $4.78 billion, up from $4.37 billion a year ago.

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