FINANCE

Francesca’s sees Q4 profit, comps slip; 85 stores on tap for 2014

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Houston — While 91 new stores boosted sales for the final fiscal quarter and year-end, Francesca’s Holdings Corp. saw net income for the 13-week period ended Feb. 1 slide to $10.6 million, from $14.9 million last year.

Same-store sales fell 6%, swinging from a 10% increase in the prior year quarter. Revenue surged to $92.1 million from $86.7 million, helped by 91 new boutique openings since the prior year quarter. Five of the 91 opened during the fourth quarter.

According to CEO Neill Davis, weather played a huge role in the disappointing fourth quarter results.

"Sales results for the fourth quarter were below our revised guidance driven by the impact of 370 full and partial daily boutique closings during January due to extreme weather conditions,” he said.

The company predicts ongoing softness in the first quarter, based on weakened traffic, but Neill said he expects an improving trend in the second half of the year.

For the full year, profit dipped to $44.8 million from $47.1 million, comps fell 2%, and sales increased 15% to $340.3 million.

Francesca’s said it plans to open approximately 60 new stores during the first quarter as compared to 56 openings during the prior year quarter. For the full year, the company will open about 85 stores, down slightly from its 91 openings in the previous year.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Kanga app set to trigger local same-day delivery

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Atlanta — Crowd-sourced delivery company Kanga has launched a new iPhone and Android app that will place on-demand delivery options in the hands of local customers. The first market to pilot the on-demand shipping solution is Kanga’s home base of Atlanta.

The solution, which leverages crowd-sourced labor, is designed to connect customers and retailers with local delivery drivers.

To initiate the delivery process, customers upload a description of an item via the Kanga mobile app, select a delivery timeframe and set a price for the service. Simultaneously, Kanga drivers access an app-based mobile map that displays the delivery requests by location and bid for delivery jobs in their area. For retailers, the solution integrates directly with popular e-commerce and point-of-sale systems.

The launch, said Kanga president and co-founder Everett Steele, enables users to “save money and empowers our drivers to be entrepreneurs. Each Kanga user joins the millions of Americans who benefit from the collaborative economy."

Atlanta’s fast-paced, urban lifestyle, high-traffic volume and emerging technology scene make the city the optimal environment for the launch of new companies, according to Kanga, which also said it is leveraging the city’s commitment to small businesses and the local economy to build an infrastructure of retail partners throughout the metropolitan area.

Following its Atlanta launch, the company said it plans multi-city expansion with national reach by early 2015.

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News

Shopper marketing leaders join Hall of Fame

BY CSA STAFF

Julie Eddleman, Erik Keptner and Andy Murray are the newest inductees into the Path to Purchase Institute’s Hall of Fame which recognizes industry leaders for their contributions to the field of shopper marketing.

Eddleman, marketing director of North American brands at Procter & Gamble, Keptner, EVP of marketing at Ahold, and Murrary, SVP of creative at Walmart were recognized at a gala event held in conjunction with the Institute’s annual Shopper Marketing Summit in Chicago.

Eddleman’s extensive responsibilities at P&G include media, branded entertainment, the Ethnic Center of Excellence, sports marketing, direct-to-consumer communications and sampling. She also oversees P&G’s Shopper Marketing Center of Excellence and in store material design and execution across all brands.

At Ahold, Keptner is the chief marketer for the retailer’s U.S. supermarket division where he leads brand management, marketing, advertising, public and community relations, customer specific marketing, consumer and business insights.

Murray spent most of his marketing career on the agency side and joined Walmart last fall as the company’s first ever SVP of creative. He oversees all advertising, circular development, retailtainment, in store TV and the development of both corporate and co-operative ideas that drive store traffic and engage shoppers.

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