FINANCE

Jones Group’s profit helped by sales to department stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Jones Group Inc. reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by a rise in sales of shoes and jeans to U.S. department stores, which helped make up for a big drop in business at its own stores.

Third-quarter revenue slipped 0.7% to $1.035 billion as sales at the company’s U.S. stores were down 6.7%.

Net income fell to $17.8 million from $41.2 million a year earlier. But excluding charges related to severance and the writedown of the cost of some assets related to store closings and other restructuring costs, as well as some gains and charges related to currency fluctuations and other items, the company earned 57 cents per share. That compared with the average analyst forecastof 32 cents a share.

"Our domestic wholesale footwear and accessories and jeanswear businesses were our best performers, while our structured sportswear business and retail channels remained more challenging and promotional,” said Wesley R. Card, CEO, Jones Group. “Our international segments continued to perform quite well, especially in the face of a difficult economic climate, particularly in Western Europe."

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OPERATIONS

The Body Shop launches eGift card program from CashStar

BY Staff Writer

PORTLAND, Maine — The Body Shop launched a new earth-friendly eGift Card service powered by CashStar, a digital gifting and incentives company. Customers can now purchase and send personalized eGift Cards to family and friends for redemption online or at any of the thousands of The Body Shop stores across the United States and Canada.

"As a company dedicated to protecting the planet and using natural ingredients, we found eGift Cards to be a thrilling opportunity for The Body Shop brand," said Alfred Montalvo, senior director of emerging channels at The Body Shop.

"Through this new partnership with CashStar, our customers can now save plastic resources and reduce their carbon footprint by sending gift cards digitally. We are excited to be able to further extend our green efforts to the gift card experience."

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FINANCE

Fred Meyer selects TD Retail Card Services for private label credit card

BY Staff Writer

MAHWAH, N.J. — The Fred Meyer Jewelers division of Kroger Co. has selected TD Retail Card Services to take over the private label credit card program for its Fred Meyer Jewelers and Littman Jewelers stores.

Under the agreement, the business unit of TD will direct all facets of the program for the company’s 344 fine jewelry stores in 32 states.

"Our partnership with TD Retail Card Services represents our continual effort to upgrade and improve our customers’ shopping experience. We are very excited to be able to offer customers even more savings and additional benefits with new and improved special financing, helping them celebrate life’s special occasions with the timeless gift of fine jewelry," says Peter Engel, president of Fred Meyer Jewelers.

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