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Lowe’s continues down transformation road

BY Ken Clark

New York — Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s is telling investors and analysts that changes are in the works, a message it has delivered steadily over the last several quarters.

“We will evolve our sales culture across all channels to better understand and serve customers’ needs, and further leverage our investments in technology," said Rick Damron, chief operating officer. "This next phase of our transformation is focused on our associates and their relationship with customers. It is a shift from a transaction-oriented culture to a project-oriented culture with a particular focus on lead conversion and average ticket growth.”

For fiscal year 2012, total sales are expected to be flat compared with the 53-week prior year, but up about 2% compared with the prior 52-week period, the company said. Comp-store sales are expected to increase about 1% on a 52-week-to-52-week basis.

The company will finish the year with 10 new store openings.

Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO, said: “As we look at the home improvement industry, we know consumers’ affinity for their homes remains strong even as we emerge from the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression."

There will be a lot of competition for share of wallet in this environment, including rival Home Depot, where comp-store sales have outperformed Lowe’s comps for each of the last 14 quarters.

Gregory Bridgeford, chief customer officer, is expected to address improvements during the conference.

“We are building on our core strengths with Value Improvement and Product Differentiation," he said. "These focus areas are expected to deliver comparable store transaction growth, higher gross margins and improved inventory productivity. You might think of Value Improvement as the inner circle enhancing the core, and Product Differentiation as the outer circle driving excitement and flexibility.”

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P.Rogers says:
Mar-28-2013 10:35 am

Good to hear this news from them. The company is doing great so far. And we look forward to the new stores that they will going to open in different areas. - Kale Flagg

P.Rogers says:
Mar-28-2013 10:35 am

Good to hear this news from them. The company is doing great so far. And we look forward to the new stores that they will going to open in different areas. - Kale Flagg

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Rite Aid same-store sales down 3% in Q3

BY Alaric Dearment

Camp Hill, Pa. — As expected, Hurricane Sandy left its mark on Rite Aid’s monthly sales as the chain reported a decline in comps for November.

The company said the 3% decrease in same-store sales for the five-week period ended Saturday included a 0.5% decrease in front-end comps and a 4.2% decrease in pharmacy comps, while same-store prescription count increased 2.2% compared with the same time last year.

The company had anticipated a negative effect from Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Northeast in October, killing dozens and leaving millions without power and forcing most retailers to temporarily close down their stores in the affected region. According to Rite Aid, the total effect of Sandy included a negative effect of 0.4% on front-end comps and 1.5% on same-store prescription count. Still, the company said last month that it did not expect Sandy to significantly affect its fiscal year 2013 sales overall.

Total drugstore sales for the month decreased by 2.3%, to $2.396 billion, from $2.452 billion in November 2011.

For the 13 weeks ended on Saturday, comps decreased by 1.5%, including a 1.1% increase in front-end comps and a 2.7% decrease in pharmacy comps. Same-store prescription count increased by 3.6%. For the year to date, comps increased by 0.3%, including a 1.7% increase in front-end comps, a 0.4% decrease in pharmacy comps and a 3.5% increase in same-store prescription count.

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Ethan Allen will use Demandware’s global commerce capabilities to grow online presence

BY Marianne Wilson

Burlington, Mass. — Demandware announced Ethan Allen Interiors will leverage the Demandware Commerce platform as the digital foundation of its global expansion strategy.

Ethan Allen recently launched its first site on the Demandware platform in Canada to coincide with the grand opening of its first Design Center in Montreal. Ethan Allen plans to re-launch its U.S. e-commerce site with Demandware in 2013 in addition to site launches in other countries, including Europe, to support its new design center in Brussels.

“We are focused on growing our global business by generating awareness for our brand including where we do not yet have brick and mortar locations.” said Farooq Kathwari, chairman and CEO of Ethan Allen. “Our expanded online presence, powered by Demandware, will help us reach more customers to raise awareness of the Ethan Allen brand, while also driving traffic into our international Design Centers. With Demandware, we can roll out sites quickly across the globe and deliver the high level of customer service for which Ethan Allen is known.”

Beyond the capabilities that enable global operations on a single instance, the new Ethan Allen sites will incorporate a number of features to enhance the shopping experience. Each country specific site will also provide local currency pricing and offer multiple language options for the customer.

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