FINANCE

Express stumbles in Q1; closing 50 stores, ramping up outlet-store expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

Columbus, Ohio — Express Inc. said on Thursday that its fiscal first-quarter profit fell to $5.08 million, from $32.4 million a year earlier. The company also announced it will close approximately 50 stores during the next 36 months, primarily at the end of their leases, even as it ramps up expansion of its of its new outlet-store concept. Express debuted its outlet format this past April.

“I am also delighted to note that the 17 Express Factory Outlet Stores now in operation are exceeding our plans and being met with great enthusiasm. We expect them to contribute to a stronger second half. In light of this performance, we are accelerating future outlet store openings,” said Michael Weiss, chairman and CEO, Express.

Express sales fell to $460.7 million, from $509.4 million. Same-store sales plunged 11%.

"We had anticipated a very challenging first quarter, but our actual results were weaker than planned,” Weiss said. “Our business strengthened in April, but not to the degree that we anticipated when we formulated our first quarter guidance. While external challenges contributed to the decline in our first quarter performance, we also did not execute as well as we could have."

Express said its 50 store closures are expected to result in profit improvement of $5 to $8 million once all locations are closed. The closings are expected to start at the end of its current fiscal year or the beginning of the next fiscal year.

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OPERATIONS

Census Bureau: Online shopping and mail-order businesses jump 27%

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Online shopping is showing rapid growth compared to the rest of the retail trade sector, with the number of establishments growing 27.4% between 2011 and 2012, according to new U.S. Census Bureau statistics released today. Drawn from County Business Patterns: 2012, the new data provides the only detailed annual information on the number of establishments, employees and payroll for nearly 1,200 industries at the national, state and county levels.

The number of electronic shopping and mail-order houses establishments grew from 23,697 to 30,185 between 2011 and 2012. Employment climbed 13.7% to 365,508. In contrast, for the retail trade sector as a whole, which includes traditional brick-and-mortar stores, the number of establishments rose just 0.1%, while employment climbed 0.7%.

The greatest employment increases in electronic shopping and mail-order houses were concentrated in counties within Southern California, the New York metro area, Chicago metro area, and other metro areas such as Memphis, Tenn. (Shelby County), Las Vegas (Clark County), Grand Rapids, Mich. (Kent County), Columbus, Ohio (Franklin County) and Minneapolis (Hennepin County). In addition, two counties in North Carolina (Guilford and Wake, home of Greensboro and Raleigh, respectively) and one in Missouri (Clay, near Kansas City) also had large gains in employment for this industry.

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REAL ESTATE

Macy’s to anchor new mall in Hawaii

BY Marianne Wilson

Cincinnati — Macy’s announced an agreement for Macy’s to anchor the new Ka Makana Ali‘i in Kapolei in West O‘ahu, Hawaii. Current plans call for the 103,000-sq.-ft., one-level store to open in mid-2016.

Ka Makana Ali‘i, a major mixed-use project with more than 100 retail, hotel, dining, entertainment and office components, is a project of DeBartolo Development in partnership with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. With 1.4 million sq. ft. on 67 acres, it will be the first all-new regional shopping center to be built in Hawaii in more than 30 years. Macy’s is planned to be the largest single retail tenant in the center. When completed, Ka Makana Ali‘i will be among the largest shopping centers in Hawaii.

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