STORE SPACES

Exclusive: 2011 Holiday Windows Photo Gallery

BY Staff Writer

New York City — From the shimmering windows at Harrods in London to the gold-draped storefront at Gucci in New York, Chain Store Age has put together a collection of the best of this year’s holiday windows from around the world.

Click here to view our slideshow and prepare to be transported.

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FINANCE

ShopperTrak report: Holiday sales increase 22% for week ending Dec. 17

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago — A report released Wednesday by ShopperTrak found that holiday shoppers boosted sales 21.7% over the previous week and 1.3% over the same week last year.

According to ShopperTrak, sales increases during the week ending Dec. 17 made this December on pace to have higher retail sales than last year. Month-to-date figures are up 0.5% over December 2010.

“December’s retail gains will likely continue all the way through Christmas and the end of Hanukkah,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “As the weather gets colder and these important days get closer, retailers should be ready to service customers looking to buy.”

Despite the high week-over-week returns, the weekend of Dec. 16 – Dec. 18 showed slight year-over-year declines in sales. Super Saturday, the last Saturday with regular shopping hours before Christmas, had a 0.7% sales decline over the same day in 2010 and consumers spent $7.5 billion compared to $7.55 billion spent last year.

According to ShopperTrak, the additional Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year may have led more shoppers to procrastinate finishing their holiday shopping. Impulse or “add-on” purchases may also be lower this season, as many of holiday shoppers make purchasing decisions before walking into a store, due to online research and planned shopping outings.

Despite weekend sales declines, week-over-week gains continued from the previous week ending Dec. 10, which had a 10.6% increase in sales, and reversed the year-over-year losses for that week. ShopperTrak expects the upward sales trend to continue.

“This week holds an extra shopping day between Thanksgiving and Christmas compared to past years,” Martin said. “Shoppers will be ready to spend the rest of their holiday budgets. Stores that monitor hourly foot traffic, staff appropriately to the number of shoppers in the store and prepare inventory for additional traffic will be most successful.”

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News

Bed Bath delivers again

BY CSA STAFF

Union, N.J. — Undaunted by a still difficult housing market, Bed Bath & Beyond blew away analysts’ third quarter earnings estimates and reported a 4.1% same-store sales increase for the period ended Nov. 26.

The company reported earnings per share of 95 cents that were 28% higher than the prior year’s third quarter and well above guidance provided at the end of the second quarter that called for earnings per share of 82 cents to 87 cents. Analysts’ had forecast earnings of 89 cents. Buoyed by the strong profit performance, the company said its full year earnings would range from $3.86 to $3.92.

Earnings growth in the quarter was aided by an aggressive share repurchase program, which saw the company buy back roughly 5.6 million shares at a cost of $328 million. That could be the case again in the fourth quarter as Bed Bath & Beyond has $1.3 billion in authorization remaining on a share repurchase program approved last December.

As for the company’s 4.1% third-quarter same-store sales increase, it was a slight deceleration from a second-quarter comp of 5.6%, but it came on top of a prior year increase of 7%. Total sales increased by 6.8% to $2.34 billion compared with $2.2 billion. Through the first nine months of the year, the company’s same-store sales are up 5.5% and total sales have advanced 8.2% to nearly $6.8 billion from $6.3 billion.

The company ended the third quarter with a total of 1,171 stores, including 993 Bed Bath & Beyond stores, 71 Christmas Tree Shops stores, 61 buybuy BABY stores and 46 stores under the names of Harmon or Harmon Face Values. During the quarter, the company opened seven Bed Bath & Beyond stores, seven buybuy BABY stores, one Christmas Tree Shops store and one Harmon Face Values store.

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