FINANCE

Limited’s Q4 profit plummets 21% on restructuring charge

BY Staff Writer

Columbus, Ohio — Limited Brands reported Wednesday that fourth quarter profit dropped 21% to $359.4 million, from $452.3 million in the year-ago period.

The parent to Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works and Henri Bendel was negatively impacted by a large restructuring charge for an asset write-down and closures of some of its La Senza lingerie stores. Last quarter’s profit decrease breaks a streak of four consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit increases.

Revenue rose to $3.52 billion from $3.46 billion, matching Wall Street expectations. Same-store sales increased 7%.

For the full year, Limited Brands reported a profit of $850.1 million, up from $804.8 million in fiscal 2010. Revenue rose 8% to $10.4 billion.

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Gap Inc. boosts creative talent with new hires

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO — Gap Inc. has named Jill Stanton to the newly-created role as creative advisor for Old Navy and Liz Meltzer as SVP Gap international merchandising.

“Boosting our already-strong creative talent is a key focus in 2012,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap Inc. “On the heels of Tracy Gardner coming back to Gap, we are thrilled that Jill Stanton will bring her talent and proven business experience as creative advisor to Old Navy to help us deliver consistently great product.”

Stanton will serve as a creative advisor to Old Navy, and will work with the design and merchandising teams to provide a fresh perspective and insights to the brand. Her career spans more than 25 years in apparel retail, starting with successful global retailers Next and Marks and Spencer. She has more than a decade of experience with Nike, ultimately serving as vice president of Global Apparel. In that role, she was responsible for the strategic direction of all functional areas associated with product design, production, and development of Nike Apparel globally.

Meltzer will oversee Gap’s international merchandising in Asia, Europe, and other key regions outside of North America as a key member of the Gap Global Creative Center in New York. She has more than 20 years of diverse product experience across multiple brands, countries and channels. She’s served as Uniqlo’s senior vice president of merchandising for the United States and Europe, and held senior-level merchandising positions at J.Crew and Calvin Klein.

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FINANCE

OfficeMax profit drops in Q4, plans store closures

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Naperville, Ill. — OfficeMax Inc. reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 dropped to $2.9 million, from $32.8 million a year earlier.

Sales edged up 3.9% to $1.8 billion in the quarter, but dipped 0.4% to $7.1 billion for the full year. Profit for the year was $32.8 million.

"We closed out a challenging 2011 by continuing to streamline our operations and strengthen the core business," said Ravi Saligram, president and CEO of OfficeMax. "We are making progress in executing the strategic plan we announced in November."

Retail segment sales increased 5.7% to $901 million in the fourth quarter, reflecting a same-store sales increase of 0.2%.

For the upcoming year, OfficeMax said it plans a net reduction in retail store count with up to 35 store closures and one to two store openings in the United States, as well as eight to nine store openings and one to two store closures in Mexico.

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