REAL ESTATE

Five Below entering Texas with four locations in Austin

BY Marianne Wilson

Philadelphia — Five Below will make its Texas debut, opening four locations in Austin. The stores, slated to open Aug. 2, are the first of more than a dozen stores Five Below plans to open in the Lone Star state this year.

Targeted at pre-teens and teens, Five Below offers a variety of merchandise across a number of retail categories, with every item priced $1 to $5

“As a city, Austin has proven to have a strong economy and dynamic personality,” said Tom Vellios, co-founder and CEO, Five Below, which operates more than 275 stores. “We’re confident that Five Below’s fun and vibrant atmosphere will be a great complement to the community, providing value-minded customers increased access to a wide assortment of trend-right products at affordable prices.”

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FINANCE

Big 5 Sporting Goods Q2 profit up; revenue disappoints

BY Dan Berthiaume

El Segundo, Calif. — Big 5 Sporting Goods reported that its second-quarter profit more than doubled from a year ago on higher sales and expanding margins, but its revenue fell short of expectations.

The sporting goods’ retailer said its net income increased to $6.1 million for the period ended June 30, up from $2.6 million in the year ago period. Net sales climbed 5.9%, to $239.9 million, below the $244 million expected by analysts.

Same-store sales increased 4.4%, compared to a 5.2% lift in the second quarter of the previous year. A shift in the timing of Easter and ongoing merchandise and marketing initiatives helped drive strong net sales results, although a shift in the Fourth of July had a negative impact.

"We are pleased with our second quarter financial results as we continued to see the underlying performance of our business strengthen," said Steven G. Miller, the company’s chairman, president and CEO. "We experienced a slight improvement in customer traffic and a mid-single-digit increase in average sale, and our same store sales improved for each of our major product categories of apparel, footwear and hardgoods."

Looking ahead, Big 5 Sporting Goods forecasts same-store sales in the positive low single-digit range and earnings per diluted share in the range of $0.40 to $0.45. The company said it plans to open four new stores and close one store, as part of a relocation, during the quarter.

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News

Five Guys gets social with fries

BY Dan Berthiaume

Lorton, Va. – In order to quickly detect customer service problems and quantify customer requests, Five Guys Burgers and Fries has implemented social intelligence technology from newBrandAnalytics (nBA). Using nBA solutions, Five Guys monitors social media chatter to help the company implement operational changes and improve engagement with customers. Five Guys also leverages the technology to gauge interest in potential new menu items.

For example, when Five Guys was recently considering introducing a smaller size French fry order based on customer requests, the company was not sure if demand was widespread enough to provide ROI on the item. According to Five Guys public relations official Molly Catalano, Five Guys employed nBA technology to monitor social media commentary and determine that in fact there was widespread demand for a smaller French fry option.

“With nBA’s insight we could see that the desire for a smaller fry was spread widely across many markets and demographics, so we decided to test what we called the ‘Little Fry’ in a variety of markets,” said Catalano. “The test went really well in all the target markets and, as a result, we rolled out the ‘Little Fry’ system-wide. The feedback loop continues through social media and we have actually gotten almost nothing but positive feedback from our customers. They are so happy that we listened and that we’re offering the little fry now, which truly feels like a big win for us.”

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