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Macy’s, J.C. Penney fall short in July

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Department stores, among the retailers hardest hit by the recession, struggled in July, as cautious consumers continued to hold back their spending.

The nation’s largest department store company, Macy’s, said Thursday its same-store sales fell 10.7% in July, a bigger drop than analysts expected. However, it offered second-quarter guidance above analyst expectations.

For the second quarter ended Aug. 1, Macy’s same-store sales fell 9.5%, while total sales fell 10% to $5.17 billion.

J.C. Penney Co. also fell short of analysts’ expectations. Same-store sales fell 12.3% in July, a slightly bigger drop than analysts predicted.

Analysts on average expected J.C. Penney’s same-store sales to fall 11.4%. The company itself had predicted a 13% to 16% drop.

Stage Stores said its July same-store sales fell 11.9%, a bigger drop than expected, and total sales for the second quarter fell 8% to $342 million.

Performing better than analysts had expected was Nordstrom Inc., whose same-store sales declined 6.9% in July. Analysts had expected a larger 11.1% drop.

Saks said Thursday that same-store sales fell 16.3% in July, nearly even with analyst predictions.

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OfficeMax brings back penny campaign

BY CSA STAFF

NAPERVILLE, Ill. OfficeMax has released new Penny Pranks videos in support of its “Back To School for Pennies” program, featuring a different assortment of school supplies for the cost of just one penny during each week of the back-to-school season.

“The Penny Prank videos are a fun way to engage our audience during back-to-school season and call attention to the special one-penny price offers available weekly at OfficeMax,” said Ryan Vero, EVP and chief merchandising officer for OfficeMax.

Filmed in a New York City mansion, the latest Penny Prank videos feature actor Matt McCarthy, posing as the guardian of a 10-year-old billionaire. Unsuspecting sellers of items such as rare coins, first-edition books and a vintage guitar are invited to the mansion expecting a sale and encounter eccentric characters wanting to pay with mounds of pennies from inside their vault. The seven new Penny Prank videos are now available for viewing on a dedicated YouTube channel .

OfficeMax is also supporting its “Back to School for Pennies” program with two television spots and three radio ads that will run in top U.S. markets throughout the back-to-school season.

For back-to-school season, OfficeMax is featuring new “Penny Offers” each week that rotate from a single-priced item for one penny to bundled offers such as “Buy one, Get one for one Penny” deals on school supplies.

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At Lowe’s, a flurry of openings

BY CSA STAFF

Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s opened eight new stores in July, including six store openings on July 30 and 31.

The six newest stores are located in Hamburg, N.Y; Hornell, N.Y.; Marrero, La.; Summerville, S.C.; South Durham, N.C.; and Mt. Juliet, Tenn. Earlier last month, the company opened stores in Petal, Miss.; and Torrington, Conn.

 

The stores opened in July range in size from 94,000 square feet to 117,000 square feet.

 

The July 30 and 31 openings marked the busiest two-day opening spree for the retailer so far this year. But the busiest single day of 2009 has been Feb. 2, when the company opened five new stores. Lowe’s also opened nine new stores in a five-day span in early February.

 

The Mooresville, N.C.-based retailer is anticipating opening 60 to 70 stores in 2009, a figure that was adjusted down from an earlier forecast of 75 to 85. Since Lowe’s fiscal year began Jan. 31, the company has opened 37 stores, including four in Canada.

 

Lowe’s 2009 plans are well ahead of Home Depot’s plans for 13 new store openings in the current year — five in the United States. Still, Home Depot is the store-count leader, with 2,241 stores, compared to Lowe’s 1,675 stores.

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