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Foot Locker to close 117 stores, reorganize management

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Foot Locker said Friday it plans to cut about 120 jobs and to have closed 117 stores by the end of this month as it looks to become a more efficient and competitive business.

The company said the job cuts would come in its home office and field-management operations. It did not say what stores would be closed.

Foot Locker said it plans to open 37 stores, close 190 stores and remodel or relocate 160 stores in its fiscal year that ends this month. It said 117 stores — mostly domestic Foot Locker and Lady Foot Locker locations — were likely to be shuttered in the fourth quarter.

It currently has about 3,600 stores in 21 countries in North America, Europe and Australia.

The company said it will consolidate Lady Foot Locker’s management with that of its Foot Locker U.S., Kids Foot Locker and Footaction businesses.

Effective with the change, Richard A. Johnson will become president and CEO of Foot Locker U.S., Footaction, Kids Foot Locker and Lady Foot Locker. Richard Johnson is moving from his position as president and CEO of the company’s successful Foot Locker Europe operation, effective immediately.

“We expect the consolidation of our Foot Locker businesses under the direction of one management team to help us clarify our Foot Locker family of brands position in the retail marketplace,” stated Ken C. Hicks, president and CEO of Foot Locker. “It will allow us to sharpen our focus on the female consumer, as we look to improve the coordination of our women’s merchandise assortments and marketing strategies across each of our Foot Locker brands. This move is a component of a new, comprehensive strategic plan that we expect to complete and announce early in our 2010 fiscal year.”

As a result of the reorganization, as well as some corporate staff reductions taken to improve corporate efficiency, Foot Locker expects its financial results in 2010 to be enhanced by annual expense savings of approximately $10 million. An after-tax charge of $3 million, or $0.02 per share, is expected to be recorded during the fourth quarter of 2009 to reflect the costs associated with the elimination of approximately 120 home office and field-management positions.

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Sears wants to find you the perfect CE match

BY CSA STAFF

LAS VEGAS Sears announced that it will introduce two new online shopping tools — TvMatchMaker.com and CameraMatchMaker.com — at the International Consumer Electronics Show, taking place in Las Vegas, Jan. 7 to 10.

TVMatchMaker.com and CameraMatchMaker.com, according to the company, help customers find their perfect TV or camera by asking them a series of compatibility questions to find their perfect match. TvMatchMaker.com users interactively answer questions about their home and viewing habits. CameraMatchMaker.com users answer questions about the types of pictures they shoot, while addressing photography concerns such as red-eye reduction and blurred images.

“We know that there are a lot of confusing questions to consider when purchasing home electronics, especially for new televisions and digital cameras. With the TvMatchMaker.com and CameraMatchMaker.com solutions, the Sears Blue Electronics Crew asks participants targeted questions to quickly assess their needs and pair them with the best solutions,” said Karen Austin, president of home electronics for Sears Holdings. “Throughout both of the easy-to-navigate experiences, we have incorporated helpful tips and demonstrations to show Sears shoppers how the products can best fit into their homes and lifestyles.”

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BBBY posts strong quarter

BY CSA STAFF

In a strong earnings report that could be a sign of improving demand for spending on the home, Union, N.J.-based Bed Bath & Beyond posted third quarter earnings of $151.3 million, up 72.5% from $87.7 million in the same quarter last year.

Sales for the quarter ended Nov. 28 were $1.975 billion, up from 10.8% from $1.78 billion in the prior-year quarter. Comparable store sales in the quarter increased 7.3%.

 

Bed Bath & Beyond had a total of 1,086 stores, including 960 Bed Bath & Beyond stores.

 

The consumer continues to face challenges, said Leonard Feinstein, co-founder and co-chariman. Still, he described the company as “cautiously optimistic.” It opened 16 new Bed Bath & Beyond stores in the quarter, and closed one Bed Bath & Beyond store.

The company’s third quarter results exceeded even internal expectations, said CEO Steven Temares. Challenges persist, but the retailer’s fundamental strategy remains unchanged. He described the strategy as offering a broad mix of products at low prices and with high levels of service.

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