FINANCE

Fred’s profit up in Q4

BY CSA STAFF

Memphis, Tenn. Fred’s reported its fourth-quarter net income totaled $5.7 million, an increase from $2.3 million in the same quarter last year, including charges totaling $5.5 million related to various legal settlements and store closings in 2008.

For the year ended Jan. 30, net income increased to $23.5 million from net income of $16.6 million.

Fred’s total sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 increased 1% to $473.1 million, from $469.4 million for the same period last year. Same-store sales for the quarter declined 0.9%, compared with a 1.1% decrease in the fourth quarter last year.

For the year, total sales declined 1% to $1.79 billion, from $1.80 billion in the year-earlier period. Same-store sales for the year increased 0.4% versus a 1.8% increase in the prior-year period.

“Although earnings for 2009 were not as strong as we expected, the year was a transitional one as we took many steps to make Fred’s a stronger company and better positioned for 2010 and beyond,” said CEO Bruce A. Efird. “We have refined our pilot store with extensive research and validated programs to highlight the key differentiating advantages of shopping at Fred’s. With the new pilot store layout, merchandising initiatives, and marketing programs in place, Fred’s is better positioned to improve its performance this year and drive higher earnings in the future.”

Operating income for fourth quarter 2009 increased to $8.8 million or 1.8% of sales, from $3.1 million or 0.7% of sales in the prior-year period. For 2009, operating income increased to $38.3 million or 2.1% of sales from $26.3 million or 1.5% of sales in 2008.

Fred’s opened six new stores and closed nine stores during 2009. Additionally, the company opened nine express pharmacy locations and 17 additional pharmacies, while closing three pharmacies.

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A.C. Moore names acting CEO

BY CSA STAFF

BERLIN, N.J. A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts announced the appointment of Joseph Jeffries as acting CEO effective March 31. Jeffries will also continue to serve as the COO of the company.

Jeffries succeeds Rick Lepley, who is retiring effective March 31. The company said it will conduct an internal and external search for a permanent CEO.

 

Jeffries has served as the company’s EVP and COO since August 2008. He joined the company in November 2007 as its EVP operations. Previously, he served as VP store operations, space planning and visual merchandising for Office Depot, a position he held from 2004 to November 2007.

 

Michael Joyce, chairman of the board, said, “Joe Jeffries has demonstrated strong knowledge and proven expertise in all aspects of A.C. Moore’s business and operations. We are all very excited to have Joe lead our management team during this next phase of the Company’s development.”

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Retailer study reveals importance of talent development

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK More than 83% of retailers rank leadership development as critical to their organizations’ success, according to a study by Deloitte and the National Retail Federation. However, 21% of those surveyed said they do not monitor their future supply of critical talent and one-third 34% believe that their succession planning efforts are not effective.

Part of the problem of not being able to recognize talent in the ranks is a deficit in human resources technologies, the survey found. According to the study, 41% of retailers said they do not have the HR technology (e.g., candidate identification, learning, and training systems) to support talent management within their organizations.  In addition, nearly as many (38%) do not have a process in place for documenting and retrieving the knowledge of skilled workers.

 

Retailers surveyed also indicate that attracting new talent and retaining top talent are two critically important areas.  However, nearly 73% of respondents indicate that their organizations know what is required to motivate and retain top talent.  The top three tools cited to attract and retain talented employees include financial rewards and incentives (76%), training and development opportunities (69%) and brand affiliation, with two-thirds (66%) of the surveyed executives citing brand attraction as a key tool.  

“The study suggests that retailers understand the talent management imperative and are focused on improving their competitive position in the talent market,” said Dan Butler, VP retail operations for NRF.  “Retailers that take a proactive approach to engage top performers, develop the next generation of leaders, and increase workforce diversity through effective recruiting, development and retention strategies may be well positioned to drive positive business performance through an economic recovery and beyond.”

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