FINANCE

Kroger net income grows 10%

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cincinnati — The Kroger Company reported better-than-expected net income of $481 million during the first quarter of this year, up nearly 10% from $439 million in the first quarter of 2012. The company also raised its forecast for annual earnings.

Total sales increased 3.4% from $29.1 billion to $30 billion and a 3.3% increase in same-store sales beat analyst projections of a 2.8% increase.

Based on the first quarter results, the company increased its net earnings guidance to a range of $2.73 to $2.80 per diluted share for fiscal 2013. The original guidance was $2.71 to $2.79 per diluted share. The company’s long term growth rate guidance is 8% to 11%, plus a growing dividend.
Kroger continues to expect identical supermarket sales growth, excluding fuel, of approximately 2.5% to 3.5% for fiscal year 2013.

"Kroger achieved strong sales and record earnings per share for the quarter, and our customers’ positive view of us continues to improve," said David B. Dillon, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. "This is because of our continued focus on the customer first strategy. Our first quarter results give us the confidence to raise our guidance for the year."

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Kohl’s eases omni-channel integration

BY Dan Berthiaume

Menomonee Falls, Wis. — Kohl’s is easing the continuous integration (CI) process for its omni-channel initiatives with the implementation of the Qubell Adaptive PaaS solution. Available as a hosted platform, Adaptive PaaS provides Kohl’s with continuous application deployment, continuous testing and environment management. Specific tasks Kohl’s has executed using Adaptive PaaS include automating the front end of its development process, integrating with various technology stacks and providing developers with near-real-time feedback on their work.

“Rapid delivery of new, omni-channel features to online customers is critical in retail ecommerce, and we want to deliver our innovative ideas to customers more quickly,” said Ratnakar Lavu, Kohl’s senior VP of digital innovation. “Qubell provides an automation platform to accelerate our application development processes and update and deploy our applications in near-real time.”

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Former Levi’s exec heads to the Gymboree

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO — The Gymboree Corporation has appointed former Levi Strauss & Co. executive Joelle Maher as the company’s new COO.

At Levi Strauss & Co., Maher was most recently EVP, president global retail, and prior to that SVP of Americas multi-channel retail, and VP, planning, allocation, stores, store operations and outlet. She also held executive leadership positions at Lucky Brand Jeans, Old Navy and Macy’s East.

"I’m thrilled to be joining the Gymboree team," said Maher. "I look forward to helping the team grow three fantastic brands."

Gymboree is a specialty retailer which operates 634 Gymboree stores (584 in the United States, 43 in Canada, 1 in Puerto Rico and 6 in Australia), 160 Gymboree Outlet stores (158 in the United States, 2 in Puerto Rico), 134 Janie and Jack shops, 352 Crazy 8 stores in the United States and three e-commerce sites.

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