FINANCE

Modest gains for retailers in February, led by Costco and Limited Brands

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Costco Wholesale Corp., Limited Brands and TJX Cos. on Thursday reported better-than-expected sales for February, as growing employment and a surging stock market apparently offset the impact of higher taxes. (Some analysts cautioned, however, that the monthly figures have become less influential as an economic indicator as the number of retailers reporting on a monthly basis has dropped considerable. As of this month, Target and Kohl’s are no longer reporting monthly sales.)

Overall, 15 retailers reported on Thursday that same-store sales rose 1.7%, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Costco posted a 6% rise in same-store sales, helped by higher gasoline prices and strong sales of fresh food and consumer electronics. Wall Street analysts were expecting a 5.1% increase.

At Limited Brands reported a 3% increase in same-store sales, ahead of the 2.6% predicted increase. The metric rose 5% at Victoria’s Secret stores and was unchanged at Bath & Body Works. It rose 5% at La Senza, Limited’s Canadian lingerie store chain.

TJX Cos. Said that its February same-store sales rose 1%, topping Wall Street expectations of a 0.4% rise. CEO Carol Meyrowitz said that strong sales toward the end of the month helped the company achieve its better-than-expected same-store revenue. The European businesses also continued to show strength.

But some retailers disappointed in February.

Ross Stores Inc. that its February same-store sales fell 1%, missing the 1.1% increase analysts had forecast.

"We believe the slight decline in February same store sales was mainly due to the delay in income tax refunds," said CEO Michael Balmuth. "With sales improving as the month progressed, we continue to forecast same store sales in March and April to be down 1% to 2% and up 5% to 6%, respectively."

Teen fave Zumiez Inc. said that its same-store sales dropped 8.9% in February. Wall Street expected a 1.9 % decline.

In other February same-store sales results:

  • The Buckle reported a drop of 1.1%, and
  • Stein Mart reported an increase of 0.6%.
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Apr-16-2013 05:59 am

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‘Project Runway’ contestants to make high-fashion styles with Duck Tape

BY CSA STAFF

AVON, Ohio — Duck Tape is heading to the runway this Thursday on Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” as season 11’s aspiring designers face the “Unconventional Materials Challenge,” a competition in every season that challenges them to create high-fashion clothing from something other than fabric.

Airing on March 7 at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CDT, the episode will feature contestants trying to win over the judges — Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen — with their designs made with Duck Tape-brand duct tape. Designers will team up and create their styles from Duck Tape’s wide range of more than 150 colors — which include aqua, fluorescent green, pink, orange and yellow — and prints, such as Mustache, Graffiti and Zig-Zag.

Thanks to the product’s versatility and the endless number of ways it can be used, Duck Tape has backed a trend of using duct tape for aesthetic purposes in addition to practical ones.

“Duck Tape has come a long way in the crafting and fashion world,” said Bill Kahl, EVP marketing at ShurTech Brands, the company that markets Duck Tape. “It has become a remarkable design medium, with countless Duck Tape enthusiasts using it to create everything from handbags to headbands, and we continue to see this trend grow as our palette of colors and prints evolves. This is a great partnership, and we’re anxious to see the final creations.”

Duck Tape is available at mass merchandise, craft, hardware, home center, food, drug, office, auto and specialty retailers nationwide. To see the latest duct tape creations, or share your own, visit DuckBrand.com. For all the latest Duck Tape news, follow the brand’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/DuckTape; follow its Twitter handle, @theduckbrand; follow its Pinterest boards, Pinterest.com/TheDuckBrand; or tune in to its YouTube channel, YouTube.com/TheDuckBrand.

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart launches online site of goods make by small, women-owned businesses

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores on Thursday launched a new section on its website dedicated to products from small, women-owned businesses around the world.

More than 200 items from 19 businesses in nine countries are featured in the new "Empowering Women Together" section of Walmart.com. The launch comes a day before International Women’s Day.

"Empowering Women Together is a simple concept; it connects shoppers in the United States with quality products made by women-owned businesses around the world," said Andrea Thomas, SVP, Walmart. "And in doing that, it helps achieve so much more. Through Walmart’s Empowering Women Together, customers can help these suppliers increase their incomes, better their lives and create new jobs for others, and Walmart can help these suppliers gain experience with buying trends, scaling, product development and acumen they need to build their businesses."

The product collection includes jewelry from Peru, Rwanda, Kenya and the U.S.; home accessories from Rwanda and Haiti; paper mache from Haiti, apparel and accessories from Rwanda; iPad and laptop cases from Cambodia and Nepal; coffee and tea sets sourced globally and made in America; and specialty foods made in America and Canada.

Wal-Mart’s partners in the Empowering Women Together project include Full Circle Exchange and Global Goods Partners, non-profit organizations that sell products made by women.

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