REAL ESTATE

General Growth Properties Expands Kids Club

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, General Growth Properties signed a deal to bring an educational club for small children to 85 more malls around the country by August 2005. Club NOGGIN, the interactive, in-mall experience for preschoolers, was launched a year ago in five test markets, and will expand to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Seattle, among others. The club offers a free 75-minute program for kids aged 3 to 6.

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FINANCE

Thursday A.M. Earnings Roundup

BY CSA STAFF

• Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Corp. posted an 18% rise in profits for the first quarter, to $286.2 million, or 69? a share, from $241 million, or 59? a share, a year ago. Sales rose 35% to $9.18 billion, from $6.82 billion in the year-ago period. Comp-store sales increased 8.2%., with pharmacy same-store sales rising 8.8% and front-end same-store sales increasing 6.9%.

• Blockbuster Inc. swung to a loss for the first quarter, with earnings totaling $57.5 million, or 31? a share, compared with earnings of $114.4 million, or 63? a share, a year ago. Revenue for the three months ended March 31 increased 3% to $1.55 billion from $1.5 billion last year for the Dallas-based company. The world’s largest video-rental chain attributed the losses to elevated costs from the launch of the “No Late Fees” program, growth of Blockbuster Online, and charges related to efforts to acquire Hollywood Entertainment.

• Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. reported total sales for its first quarter of $749.1 million, a 5.5% increase compared to $710.3 million in the same period last year. Comp-store sales declined 3.7% for the quarter for the nation’s largest dollar store chain.

• Michaels Stores Inc. reported total sales for the first quarter of $821 million, up 13.1% over last year’s $725.9 million. Comp-store sales rose 7.8% for the Irving, Texas-based arts-and-crafts retailer.

• Cost Plus, Inc. announced sales for the first quarter ended April 30, 2005 of $200 million, a 7.7% increase from $185.7 million for the first quarter ended May 1, 2004. Comp-store sales for the quarter decreased 1.9% for the Oakland, Calif.-based retailer.

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News

ICSC: Retail Comps Increase 2.2% in April

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, There was a chill in the air across much of the retail landscape country in April. Part of it was the weather, and part of it was the chilling effect of high gas prices on retail spending. Plus, retail sales were depressed by an unusual calendar shift that pushed Easter spending into March. Through it all, April same-store sales increased 2.2% on a year-over-year basis, according to the tally from the International Council of Shopping Centers, modestly surpassing expectations.

Giant Wal-Mart Stores posted a mere 0.1% comparable store sales growth at its Wal-Mart Division and 0.9% overall, while rival Target Corp. posted a slightly better 1.3% comp-store gain.

High-flying apparel specialty chains continuted to show stellar same-store sales increases: bebe, 31.2%, American Eagle, 20.0%, Abercrombie & Fitch, 15.0%, and Chico’s FAS, 15.5%. Neiman Marcus paced the luxury department store field with 14.2% comps.

And the wholesale club sector performed well. Coscto comps increased 8.0% and BJ’s Wholeslae comps increased 8.4%.

“The results in April were uneven, but there were clear pockets of strength,” said Michael Niemira, ICSC’s chief economist and director of research.

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