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Marks & Spencer completes rollout of Visa contactless payments

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Britain’s Marks & Spencer (M&S) has completed the roll out of contactless payment to 644 of its United Kingdom stores, including its railway and airport franchise locations. The roll-out, which followed a successful trial in 25 London stores last summer, cements M&S’ position as the U.K.’s leading contactless retailer, processing over 230,000 contactless transactions every week.

The technology, provided by Visa Europe, enables consumers to simply touch the reader with their contactless cards, or enabled mobile phones without the need to enter a PIN.

Sacha Berendji, retail director at M&S commented: “Contactless and mobile payment is set to be an exciting part of the future retail landscape. A contactless payment takes place in less than a second, creating a quicker, easier and more convenient shopping experience. Customers are already embracing these benefits and through our roll-out we’re ensuring our stores can cater for customers’ changing shopping habits.”

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Gallup: Americans would rather save

BY Dan Berthiaume

Princeton – A substantially higher percentage of Americans (60%) would rather save money than spend it (37%), according to a new Gallup poll. Consumer show little difference in these preferences according to demographic categories such as age, gender, education and political party.

However, 73% of Americans earning less than $20,000 a year prefer saving over spending, compared to only 55% of those earning $75,000 or more. Gallup analysis indicates a general preference for saving among U.S. consumers partially explains why retailers generally perform better by offering sales and discounts than by offering everyday low price.

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Mixed-bag for retailers in April; TJX, Gap and The Buckle shine

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — TJX Cos., Gap Inc., The Buckle and Zumiez all reported better-than-expected same-store sales for April, even as concerns about the job market bit into other retailers’ results.

Gap Inc. said its same-store sales in April rose a better-than-expected 7%, an 8% gain for Gap stores, a 1% rise for Banana Republic and a 9% increase for Old Navy. Net sales for the first quarter, which ended May 4, 2013, were $3.73 billion compared with $3.49 billion in the year ago period. Same-store sales were up 8% at Gap Global; 1% at Banana Republic Global; and 9% at Old Navy Global.

TJX Cos. said that same-store sales in April were up 8% on strong customer traffic, better than the 6.8% increase that analysts had expected. For the four weeks ended May 4, total revenue rose 9% to $2 billion.

“As we enter the second quarter, May is off to a strong start and our inventory levels are in an excellent position for us to buy into the enormous amount of quality opportunities we are seeing in the marketplace,” said TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz.

The Buckle, Inc. reported a 6.2% increase in same-store sales for April, well ahead of the 1.5% same-store revenue growth anticipated by Wall Street analysts.

The teen apparel retailer also reported year-to-date same-store revenue growth of 1.2% and total sales of $269.7 million, a 2.3% increase.

Zumiez, also a teen fave, reported a 4.6% gain in same-store sales in April, ahead of predictions for a 3.3% increase. Total net sales for the four-week period ended May 4, 2013 increased 12.1% to $43.0 million.

At Costco Wholesale Corp, same-store sales in April rose 4%, just missing estimates, hurt by sharply lower fuel prices compared to last year. Net sales for the four weeks ending May 5 totaled $7.98 million, up 7% from $7.48 million during the same period a year earlier.

In addition, Costco reported $69 billion in net sales for the 35 weeks ending May 5, a 9% increase from $63.59 billion a year earlier. Total comparable store sales improved 6% in the same time period.

L Brands (parent of Victoria’s Secret) reported smaller-than-expected sales gains in April, with same-store rising 2%, missing analysts forecasts for a 4.6% increase.

In other April results:

  • At Ross Stores, same-store sales rose 7%. For the 13 weeks ended May 4, 2013, sales totaled $2.5 billion, a 6% increase over the year-ago period.
  • Hot Topic said its same-store sales declined 1.6%.
  • Alco Stores said its same-store sales fell 2.2%, hurt by continuing wintry weather in the Midwest.
  • Wet Seal’s same-store sales were down 2.9%. But its results exceeded expectations and the company raised its guidance.

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