FINANCE

Marks & Spencer Announces Cost-Cutting Moves

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Britain’s Marks & Spencer Group PLC said Wednesday it will cut 1,230 jobs and close 27 of its stores in a drive to reduce costs as the retail sector continues to struggle.

The company had its worst quarterly revenue drop in a decade, with sales falling by 7.1% in the quarter ending Dec. 27.

Chairman Stuart Rose said in a statement he expected “challenging” economic conditions to continue for at least the next 12 months. He said the job cuts and closures, along with pension-plan changes, will help the company reduce costs by as much as 200 million pounds ($297 million) in 2009 and 2010 and help “maintain the strength of our business.”

The job cuts include 450 head-office employees and 780 staff members in 25 “underperforming” food-only shops. Two of the retailer’s smaller department stores will also face redundancies.

Marks & Spencer has about 70,000 employees and more than 600 stores in Britain. There are nearly 300 international locations in 40 different countries.

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MacDowell named president of Charming Outlets

BY CSA STAFF

BENSALEM, Pa. Charming Shoppes has announced that MaryEllen MacDowell has been appointed president of Charming Outlets, effective immediately. She succeeds Jeffrey Elliott, who has left the company to pursue another career opportunity.

MacDowell will have leadership responsibility for the company’s Lane Bryant Outlet and Petite Sophisticate Outlet retail chains, and will report to Joseph Baron, EVP and COO of Charming Shoppes.

MacDowell has served as SVP and general merchandise manager of apparel and accessories at the company’s Lane Bryant brand since 2007. From 2002 to 2007, she was the VP and divisional merchandise manager for plus sportswear, dresses, and swimwear for the company’s Fashion Bug brand.

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Best Buy to sell ‘refreshed’ iPhone 3Gs

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy announced that it is the first retailer to offer refreshed Apple iPhone 3Gs at store locations nationwide.

The Refreshed iPhone 3G is available at 350 Best Buy Mobile stores at $149 for the 8GB model and $249 for the 16G model, both require a two-year service contract. New iPhone 3Gs currently retail for $199 (8G) and $299 (16G) at Best Buy Mobile.

“The refreshed iPhone is a great example of the depth of our offering, and clear evidence of why Best Buy is the best place to purchase a mobile phone,” said Scott Moore, VP of marketing for Best Buy Mobile. “Where else can you get everything you need to make sure your phone can be utilized to its fullest.”

Best Buy said the refreshed iPhones will expand to all U.S. Best Buy stores that offer AT&T by the end of January.

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