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NCB Launches New Program to Finance Solar-Energy Systems

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, DC—NCB, a financial-services company, launched a new financing program dedicated to arranging innovative loan packages for customers installing solar-energy systems nationwide. The newly formed Renewable Energy Department at NCB has been fielding calls from companies and government organizations where energy-saving projects have become a top priority.

In the last six months, NCB’s Renewable Energy Department has funded more than $46.4 million in financing, for such notable projects as Denver International Airport, Macy’s Corp., The Belmar Center in Lakewood, Colo., and the Colorado Convention Center.

The success of the program is evidenced in the $11 million financing package NCB arranged for renewable-energy supplier MMA Renewable Ventures, to build a 2-megawatt solar project at Denver International Airport. The large-scale photovoltaic solar project is expected to generate 3.3 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity per year for the airport, helping reduce its electricity consumption from the grid. The project developer, MMA, approached NCB for the financing because of the bank’s reputation for creative and tailored loan packages based on its clients’ needs.

For more information, visit www.ncb.coop.

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Jo-Ann Stores reports 3Q sales increase, raises outlook

BY CSA STAFF

HUDSON, Ohio Jo-Ann Stores reported that net sales for the third quarter ended Nov. 1, were $480.1 million compared to $480.2 million in the prior year. Same-store sales decreased 1.5% versus a same-store sales increase of 2.4% last year.

The company said it expects to report slightly improved third quarter earnings compared to last years third quarter earnings of 32 cents per diluted share.

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Gap Inc. October comps down 16%

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO Gap Inc. reported net sales of $1.08 billion for the four-week period ended Nov. 1, a decrease of 12% as compared with net sales of $1.23 billion for the same period in 2007. Comparable-store sales decreased 16%, compared to an 8% decrease for October 2007.

Comps for Gap decreased 14%, Banana Republic saw a 17% comps drop, Old Navy posted comps of negative 20% and International comps came in at a 5% decrease.

“In October, we continued to deliver merchandise margins significantly above last year despite the tough market conditions,” said cfo Sabrina Simmons. “We are reaffirming our full-year earnings guidance and will continue to use inventory and cost management to offset what we anticipate will be a challenging holiday season.”

For the 13-week third quarter, total company net sales were $3.56 billion, a decrease of 8% from $3.85 billion in 2007. Comparable-store sales decreased 12%, compared with a decrease of 5% in the third quarter of the prior year.

Third-quarter comps fell 7% at Gap, 11% at Banana Republic, 18% at Old Navy and 1% internationally.

Gap Inc. expects diluted EPS on a GAAP basis for the third quarter to be 33 cents to 35 cents, compared with diluted EPS of 30 cents last year. The company reaffirmed that it expects full-year diluted EPS of $1.30 to $1.35 on a GAAP basis, compared with fiscal year 2007 diluted earnings per share of $1.05.

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