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Macy’s names new board member

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI — Paul Varga, chairman and CEO of Brown-Forman Corp., has been elected to the Macys Inc. board of directors.

Varga is a dynamic business leader and strategic thinker with an impressive track record in building and marketing global brands, said Terry Lundgren, Macys Inc. chairman, president and CEO. He will be an important addition to our board as we continue to develop Macy’s and Bloomingdales as distinct brands and destinations for shoppers domestically and internationally. Given that Paul began with Brown-Forman as a summer intern and worked his way up the organization’s ranks, he also is an advocate for strong management development environments, which is a hallmark of Macys Inc.

The addition of Varga brings the size of Macys Inc.s board of directors to 11 members. It will return to 10 members after the annual meeting of shareholders on May 18, when Joseph Pichler, former chairman of The Kroger Company, retires from the board after more than 14 years of service.

Varga was named president and chief executive officer of Brown-Forman, one of the world’s 10 largest wine and spirits producers, in August 2005 and became chairman of the company in August 2007. He has been a member of Brown-Formans board of directors since 2003.

Varga joined Brown-Forman in 1986 as a summer intern. He was promoted to a variety of positions within the corporation, ranging from on-premise marketing to managing the Jack Daniel’s brand. He was promoted to senior vice president and chief marketing officer in 2000. Prior to becoming chief executive officer of the corporation, Varga served as president and chief executive officer of the company’s Brown-Forman Beverages subsidiary.

Varga earned his bachelor’s of business administration degree in finance from the University of Kentucky in 1985, and his MBA from Purdue University in 1987.

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Saks reopens Off 5th store in Nashville

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK— Closed by floods in May 2010, the Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th at Opry Mills in Nashville, Tenn., will reopen on March 29.

Located next to the Grand Ole Opry House, the approximate 27,500-sq.-ft. store will be located in the Opry Mills Shopping Center. Operated by Simon Malls, upon completion, the center will be the largest shopping outlet in Tennessee, with over 200 stores, multiple restaurants and an in-house movie theater.

The store will be done in the ‘luxury in a loft’ store design, which maximizes efficiency and flexibility, enabling easy changes in the general layout. The store will be bright, uncluttered, with no hard aisles and one consistent hard-surface floor throughout. All fixtures will be on casters, ensuring ease in movement, and all hardware will be interchangeable between fixtures.

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Increases in traffic, ticket drive up Cost Plus comps

BY CSA STAFF

OAKLAND, Calif. — Increased cutomer traffic and average ticket, helped drive comps at Cost Plus up 7.6% for the fourth quarter of 2011 on top of a 7.7% increase from the fourth quarter of last year. The company reported that net sales for the quarter were $364.3 million, a 6.7% increase compared with $341.6 million for the fourth quarter of last year.

Barry Feld, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Fiscal 2011 marked another year of significant progress for Cost Plus World Market. Growth in revenue was driven by continued improvement in customer count and our first annual increase in the average ticket since 2007. Notably, we saw acceleration in same store sales growth during the second half of fiscal 2011, culminating in a 7.6% comp in the fourth quarter. This momentum has continued into the first quarter of fiscal 2012, reinforcing management’s view that Cost Plus World Market is uniquely positioned to capture market share in a value based economy while steadily increasing bottom line profitability.”

Net income from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 was $36.8 million, or $1.56 per diluted share, compared with net income from continuing operations of $28.8 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. Net income from continuing operations for fiscal 2011 was $17.7 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, compared to net income from continuing operations of $4.7 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, last year.

Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 was $36.5 million, or $1.55 per diluted share, compared with net income of $28.5 million, or $1.23 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. Net income for fiscal 2011 was $16.5 million, or 71 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.9 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, last year.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2012, the company expects net sales in the range of $210 million to $214 million, based on a same-store sales increase in the range of 6% to 8% compared with a same-store sales increase of 5.5% for the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

Net loss from continuing operations for the fourth quarter is expected to be in the range of $1.6 million to $0.8 million, or 7 cents to 3 cents per diluted share, compared to a net loss from continuing operations of $3 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

The company plans to open one new store during the first quarter of fiscal 2012, and no store closures, compared to no new stores and four store closures during the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

For the full year, the company expects net sales in the range of $1 billion to $1.1 billion, based on a same-store sales increase in the range of 5% to 6% compared with a same-store sales increase of 5.4% for fiscal 2011.

The company expects net income from continuing operations for the full year to be in the range of $26 million to $28 million, or $1.07 to $1.12 per diluted share, compared with net income from continuing operations of $17.7 million for fiscal 2011.

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