FINANCE

Hart Reports Record Sales

BY CSA STAFF

Laval, Quebec, Hart Stores Inc. reported record sales of $166.4 million for the fiscal year ended February 3, 2007, an increase of $18.4 million or 12.5% over sales a year earlier. Comp-store sales were up 3.0% in the same period.

The company recorded net earnings of $4.4 million in fiscal 2007, compared with net earnings of $7.0 million the previous year. The change in net earnings is primarily attributable to the start-up costs associated with the opening of the new 220,000 sq. ft. head office and distribution facility, and the non-recurring income of $950,000, as well as the non-recurring write-down and expenses related to the balance of the lease term from the former head-office facility.

Operating income for fiscal year 2007 was sustained at $10.2 million.

Last year the company opened five new stores in Ontario, growing its total network of stores to 75 locations.

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FINANCE

J.C. Penney Expected to Raise Earnings Per Share

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Analysts are predicting that J.C. Penney, in its analyst meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, will raise earnings per share guidance for the first quarter, along with a higher operating margin goal.

According to Goldman Sachs analyst Adrianne Shapira, J.C. Penney continues to make improvements in merchandise and marketing and the shares “stand as an excellent long-term investment vehicle in the department store space.”

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ECOMMERCE

Tesco Launches U.S. Web Site

BY CSA STAFF

Phoenix, Ariz., On Friday, Tesco’s U.S. format, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, launched an information-based Web site (www.freshandeasy.com).

The site does not disclose specific store locations. But a map on its “Where We Are” page identifies six markets (four in Southern California, one in Arizona and one in Nevada) where the company is expected to open its new 10,000 sq. ft. shops.

Although Tesco has not revealed exactly when the stores will open, the company previously indicated it was targeting a late summer/early fall launch.

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