OPERATIONS

Facebook adds a gift store

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Facebook has added a new service, called Gifts, which allows Facebook users in the United States to buy gifts for their friends on the social media platform. The new feature, rolled out just in time for the holiday shopping season, has the potential to give Facebook an ongoing supply of valuable personal information.

To power the Gifts service, Facebook rented a warehouse in South Dakota and created its own software to track inventory and shipping, according to the New York Times. The company did not disclose how much it earns from each purchase made through Gifts.

One of the appeals of Facebook Gifts is the ease of making a purchase. Facebook users are urged to buy a present via a gift-box icon that pops up for Facebook friends on their birthdays. Users can choose from an array of products, ranging from cup cakes and chocolate to magazine subscriptions and clothing. They are asked to choose a greeting card and to provide a credit card details.

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FINANCE

Christopher & Banks posts Q3 profit; new CEO takes reins

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Christopher & Banks said its net income totaled $3.6 million for the quarter ended Oct.27, compared with a loss $13.7 million in the year-age period.

Revenue rose 2%, to $117.3 million from $114.6 million. The chain has closed more than 100 stores during the last year, but strong sales at its existing locations boosted revenue. Same-store sales rose 13.7%.

Christopher & Banks noted that effective Nov.26, LuAnn Via joined the company as president and CEO.

Via stated: “I am both thrilled to join Christopher & Banks and excited about the opportunity to build upon the foundation that Joel and the team have established. The third quarter results are a testament to the effectiveness of the strategy that has been put in place and is confirmation that the company is on the right path. I look forward to further building on this progress.”

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FINANCE

Pier I Q3 sales up 10.9%; holiday shopping starts strong

BY Marianne Wilson

Fort Worth, Texas — Pier I said its total sales increased 10.9% to $425 for the third quarter, ended Nov.15, with comparable-store sales rising 7.9% from the year-ago period.

“Excluding the impact of Hurricane Sandy, we estimate that third-quarter comp-store sales would have increased slightly over 9%,” said Alex Smith, Pier 1’s president and chief executive. “We have had a terrific start to the holiday season, including a very strong Thanksgiving weekend, and believe the business is ideally positioned with a compelling merchandise assortment and multiple ways to shop the Pier 1 Imports brand, including both in-store and online.”

Christopher & Banks as 637 stores in 44 states, including 386 Christopher & Banks stores and 171 CJ Banks stores, which sell plus size women’s clothing. It also has 55 “dual” Christopher & Banks/CJ Banks locations and 25 outlet stores.

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