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Kohl’s profit inches up 2%; expects higher holiday sales

BY Marianne Wilson

Menomonee Falls, Wis. — Kohl’s Corp. on Thursday reported stronger-than-expected third quarter profit of $215 million, up from $211 million in the year-ago quarter. But the chain gave a profit forecast that missed Wall Street’s expectations.

Sales increased 2.6% to $4.49 billion from $4.38 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales rose 1.1%.

Kohl’s said that it expects same-store sales, will be up 3% to 4% in the quarter that includes the Christmas shopping period, a big improvement over last year’s holiday period, when same-store sales fell 2.1%.

“We have made noticeable investments in Holiday inventory — both in depth and content — and the in-store experience,” stated Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our stores are festive and fun to shop. We are also very excited about our expanded gift strategy and our ability to offer great products at great values."

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Stop & Shop, parent company Ahold USA donate $2.5M for Hurricane Sandy cleanup and recovery efforts

BY CSA STAFF

PURCHASE, N.Y. — The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC and its parent company Ahold USA have donated $2.5 million to the American Red Cross to support Hurricane Sandy cleanup and recovery efforts. The money, which came from the companies and their charitable foundation, Our Family Foundation, will mainly go to the hardest hit areas in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Stop & Shop has also designated stores in New York and New Jersey as drop-off points for canned and packaged food.

"Stop & Shop is pledging support to our customers, neighbors and associates who have been so drastically impacted in our area by Hurricane Sandy," said Don Sussman, president, Stop & Shop New York Metro Division, according to a recent press release. "It is our hope that our effort helps ease the pain and speed the recovery of those who have lost so much, and we hope that others will be encouraged to assist in the relief effort and rebuilding process in any way they can."

Stop & Shop and the other supermarket companies of Ahold USA worked with the American Red Cross to establish microsites that allow associates, customers and vendors to make donations securely and with ease to local Red Cross disaster relief efforts in their respective communities. To make a donation, go to www.StopandShop.com and click on the Red Cross link at the bottom right. All donations will go to local hurricane relief efforts.

All Stop & Shop stores are also collecting cash donations at checkout counters for regional food banks and pantries, which are vital to the local communities they serve, particularly as millions of people impacted by Hurricane Sandy struggle to recover. Company initiatives such as the Stop & Shop’s Food for Friends program provide much-needed assistance to hunger relief agencies.

"Other local efforts are underway to support additional communities up and down the East Coast that were impacted by Sandy," said Joe Kelley, president, Stop & Shop New England Division, in a press release.

"One of the main charitable giving missions of Ahold USA and its companies is building healthy communities and today’s donation will go a long way to helping customers rebuild disrupted lives and devastated communities," added Carl Schlicker, COO, Ahold USA, in the press release.

The supermarket company and its parent company have also donated $500,000 to the Stop & Shop/Giant Helping Hands fund. The fund provides assistance to the companies’ associates in times of need. The donation will go toward helping associates who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.

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Williams-Sonoma to offer personalized gifts with Mark and Graham

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO — Williams-Sonoma has launched a new, direct-to-consumer brand, Mark and Graham, which specializes in personalized gifts and accessories.

The Mark and Graham line will feature home decor, small leather goods and seasonal items that can be personalized with a choice of more than 50 custom monograms and creative type treatments. The brand will offer its products through an exclusive direct mail catalog and an e-commerce website Markandgraham.com.

“I’m extremely proud to launch Mark and Graham, as it is an example of our innovative culture here at Williams-Sonoma, Inc.,” said Laura Alber, president and CEO of Williams-Sonoma Inc. “One of the things that differentiates our company is our ability to incubate and launch new brands that can grow into substantial businesses. With Mark and Graham, our goal is to create a destination for beautiful, high-quality, thoughtful gifts that are personalized by the artful use of typography.”

The brand Mark and Graham was conceived in San Francisco by a small team, led by SVP strategy and business development for Williams-Sonoma Inc., Marta Benson, and in collaboration with award-winning graphic designer Jennifer Morla.

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