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Levitz Seeks Bankruptcy Protection Again

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Levitz Furniture filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday in an effort to stay in business despite a lack of cash, according to the Associated Press.

The company’s request for reorganization under court protection is part of a strategic effort to evaluate its options, including a possible sale, the company said. It is the third time Levitz has sought court protection in just over 10 years.

The company asked the court for approval to continue meeting obligations such as fulfilling customer orders and paying its staff, and that it be allowed to pay for goods and services further down the road.

“We are hopeful this filing will enable the business to emerge stronger and better positioned for long-term success,” chairman and CEO Larry Zigerelli said in a statement.

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Study: Premium food popularity growing

BY CSA STAFF

LYON, France A Reportlinker.com report determined that retail sales of gourmet, specialty and premium foods and beverages are growing at much at a faster pace than those of the overall food and beverage industry in the United States, surging 10.9% to $59 billion in 2007 and maintaing a compound annual growth rate of 11.1% for the 2003 to 2007 period.

Greater availability of gourmet and premium products, growing interest in world cuisines and flavors, the association of high-quality ingredients with health and wellness, overlap of gourmet and natural/organic, the supermarket industry’s focus on upscale “fresh formats,” higher disposable incomes among U.S. consumers, and product positioning as affordable luxuries have enticed the consumer and driven sales. Such factors have helped produce a growing population of willing-to-spend consumers who are looking for foods that are more adventuresome and yet more nutritious.

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Gap Inc. October comps fall

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO Gap Inc. today reported a comparable-store sales decrease of 8% for the four weeks ended Nov. 3, compared to 7% for the period ended Oct. 28, 2006. The company reported net sales of $1.23 billion for the October 2007, which represents a 1% decrease compared with net sales of $1.24 billion for the same period last year.

By segment, comps for Gap North America fell 7% versus a 4% drop last year, Banana Republic North America comps were down 2% versus a 2% growth last year, Old Navy North America comps dropped 11%, same as last year, and international comps were down 6% versus a decrease of 8% last year.

“While comparable-store sales were down in October, merchandise margins were significantly above last year,” said Sabrina Simmons, evp of Gap Inc. finance. “The results reflect our stated strategy of managing inventory tightly to support margin improvements.” 

For the thirteen weeks ended Nov. 3, total company net sales were $3.85 billion, which is flat as compared to net sales of $3.85 billion for the thirteen weeks ended Oct. 28, 2006. The company’s third quarter comparable-store sales decreased 5% compared with a decrease of 5% in the third quarter of the prior year.

For the third quarter of fiscal year 2007, Gap Inc. expects diluted earnings per share to be 28 cents to 30 cents, as the company continues to make progress on its strategies of driving earnings with healthy margins and controlling expenses.

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