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Home Depot Plans Price Cuts

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta The Home Depot Inc. plans to start cutting prices this week on as many as 1,200 items, from trash bags to toilets, to boost sluggish sales and win back customers who have started to shop at competitors, according to the Associated Press. Prices will be cut between 5% and 50% — although the company couldn’t say what the average reduction will be—on about one out of every 25 items found on store shelves.

The Home Depot Inc. plans to start cutting prices this week on as many as 1,200 items, from trash bags to toilets, to boost sluggish sales and win back customers who have started to shop at competitors, according to the Associated Press.

Prices will be cut between 5% and 50%—although the company couldn’t say what the average reduction will be—on about one out of every 25 items found on store shelves.

The discounts will begin showing up in stores this week and will last at least through the next quarter.

Home Depot is already working to change its merchandising efforts, eliminating products such as clothing that executives feel aren’t related to the company’s core business lines. It’s also scaling back redundancies in some areas by eliminating multiple types of the same products that are stocked on shelves, the report said.

At the same time, the company is trying to revamp its supply chain by creating as many as 20 regional distribution centers. So far, three are open.

Last August, it sold its wholesale distribution business, HD Supply, to a group of private-equity firms for $8.5 billion.

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Movado founder to retire in 2009

BY CSA STAFF

PARAMUS, N.J. Movado Group announced that company founder Gedalio Grinberg plans to retire as chairman of the board at the end of fiscal 2009 and will remain on the board with the title of founder and chairman emeritus. Efraim Grinberg, who joined the company in 1980, will be named chairman and will also continue to serve as president and ceo.

Gedalio Grinberg, Chairman of Movado Group, stated, “I’m proud of all that our company has accomplished with the help of our employees and the confidence of our investors. After establishing a $30 million plus luxury watch business as a distributor in North America with two brands, our company strategically shifted its focus onto designing, manufacturing and distributing our own brands and as a licensee — acquiring Concord in 1970, reviving an icon of modernism in Movado, launching ESQ in 1993, expanding into the licensed watch category, and most recently acquiring Ebel.”

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Kroger reports 2Q earnings growth

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI Kroger reported total sales of $18.1 billion for the second quarter ended Aug. 16, an increase of 11.9% over the same period last year. Identical-supermarket sales increased 9.7% with fuel and 4.7% without fuel compared with the same quarter last year.

Net earnings in the second quarter totaled $276.5 million, or 42 cents per diluted share. Net earnings in the same period last year were $267.3 million, or 38 cents per diluted share.

Based on Kroger’s year-to-date results and management’s outlook for the remainder of the fiscal year, the company raised the low end of its range for annual identical sales guidance to 4.5%. Kroger now expects identical sales growth of 4.5% to 5.5%, excluding fuel, for fiscal 2008.

The company confirmed its fiscal 2008 earnings guidance of $1.85 to $1.90 per diluted share. This range reflects 9% to 12% growth over fiscal 2007 earnings of $1.69 per diluted share. Kroger expects that its full-year earnings per share growth will be driven by a combination of strong identical sales, a flat to slightly improved operating margin, excluding fuel, and fewer shares outstanding. Kroger’s dividend yield of more than 1% further enhances shareholder return.

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