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J. Crew profit more than triples in Q4; plans 42 stores in 2012

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — J. Crew Group reported Monday that profit for the quarter ended Jan. 28 rose to $15.1 million, from $4 million in the same period last year. Revenues surged 13% to $531 million, and same-store sales rose 6%.

For the full year, the retailer reported a profit decline to $51.5 million, from $121.5 million in 2010. Annual revenues rose 8% to $1.9 billion, and same-store sales increased 7%.

The company said it plans 42 stores in fiscal 2012, comprised of 16 J. Crew retail stores, 10 factory stores, one crewcuts store, and 15 Madewell stores. Slated for closure are one Madewell store and one J. Crew retail store.

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QVC starts new venture in China

BY CSA STAFF

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — QVC is building a presence in China through a new joint venture with Beijing-based China National Radio (CNR), China’s government-owned radio division. Through this partnership, CNR and QVC will jointly operate a multimedia retailing business in China through the CNR Mall TV shopping channel and its e-commerce website (www.CNRMall.com), leveraging the strengths and resources of each company.

"QVC has long recognized the great potential of having a retail presence in China. We are pleased to be able to enter this dynamic market with a strong partner. QVC’s track record of success in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Italy proves that our business model can thrive across many borders," said Mike George, QVC’s president and CEO. "CNR Mall is one of the leaders in multimedia shopping in China and shares many important values with QVC. Both companies focus on providing great customer value and are committed to service excellence."

The joint venture, CNR Home Shopping Co. Ltd. (CNRS), will be headquartered in Beijing. QVC will own a 49% stake in CNRS, and CNR will own the remaining 51%. CNRS will provide merchandise development, logistics, delivery, call center and other related services to CNR Mall. The CNR Mall TV shopping channel, which will continue to be wholly owned by CNR, reaches approximately 35 million homes within China.

The new joint venture team will be co-led by a global team of experienced executives from QVC and senior leaders from CNR Mall. The closing of the transaction is subject to various conditions, including approval from China regulators.

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Amazon.com finds fulfillment with Kiva buyout

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE — Amazon’s fulfillment services just got a boost, thanks to an agreement that will have the company buying Kiva Systems Inc. for $775 million in cash. Kiva is a manufacturer of automation technology for fulfillment centers, and is best known for its mobile- robotic technology and sophisticated control software. Kiva’s retail customers include The Gap, Staples, Saks 5th Avenue, Office Depot, Crate and Barrel and Walgreens.

“Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow,” said Dave Clark, VP global customer fulfillment, Amazon.com. “Kiva shares our passion for invention, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth.”

The acquisition, which has been approved by Kiva’s stockholders, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012. Following the acquisition, Kiva headquarters will remain in North Reading, Mass.

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