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J. Crew Cuts Year Earnings Outlook

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Crew Group Inc. on Thursday said fiscal first-quarter profit rose 24%, but lowered its full-year guidance amid a difficult retail environment.

Profit for the quarter ended May 3 rose to $30.5 million, compared with a profit of $24.6 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue rose 15% to $340.6 million from $297.3 million a year ago.

Same-store sales rose 2%, compared with an 8% rise last year.

During a conference call with analysts, company executives said same-store sales began to weaken late in the first quarter, and they expect the trend to continue for the balance of the year, as the retail sector in general struggles.

Company CEO Millard Drexler said the number of customers in stores is down and sales of shorts and T-shirts have been weak.

“We’re in an environment that we thought it was prudent and wise to adjust our forecast,” Drexler said during the conference call.

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Costco 3Q sales up 13%

BY CSA STAFF

ISSAQUAH, Wash. Costco Wholesale reported that net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 increased 13% to $16.26 billion, from $14.34 billion during the third quarter of fiscal 2007.

The company reported that U.S. comparable-store sales for the quarter increased 6%. This increase reflects the recent rise in gas prices. Excluding this, Costco said U.S. comps would have increased 4%.

Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 was $295.1 million, or 67 cents per diluted share, compared to $224 million, or 49 cents per diluted share, during the third quarter of fiscal 2007.

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Sears Holdings posts 1Q loss

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings reported a net loss of $56 million, or 43 cents loss per diluted share, for the first quarter ended May 3, compared with net income of $223 million, or $1.45 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended May 5, 2007.

For the quarter, Sears Domestic’s comparable-store sales declined 9.8% while Kmart’s comparable-store sales declined 7.1%. Total domestic comparable-store sales declined 8.6%. Sears contributed the comps decline to increased competition and weakness in the general economy and housing market, as well as the impact on its customers of the increased costs of consumer staples such as food and gas.

“Our first quarter results reflect the difficult economic environment and intense competition for consumer business. That said, since May 3, 2008, our sales declines have moderated somewhat,” said Bruce Johnson, Sears Holdings’ interim ceo and president. “As a result of actions we have taken and will continue to take to manage our costs, our current forecast for 2008 reflects higher EBITDA than we achieved last year. At the same time we are managing costs, we will continue to invest in our future by hiring talented leaders and improving our online and multi-channel capabilities.”

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