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Neiman Marcus exploring options — including sale

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Seeking relief from its heavy debt load, Neiman Marcus Group announced Tuesday it has hired financial advisors to explore strategic alternatives, which could include a sale of the company or other assets.

The luxury department store retailer also reported its sixth consecutive quarter on sales declines, posting a 6.8% drop for the second quarter.

Neiman Marcus has 42 namesake stores and 27 Last Call outlet stores. The company, which also operates the Bergdorf Goodman and MyTheresa brands, was acquired in 2013 by Ares Management LP and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for $6 billion. It is carrying a debt load of approximately $4.9 billion.

For the second quarter, Neiman Marcus reported total revenues of $1.40 billion, down 6.1% compared to the year-ago period. Same-store sales fell 6.8%.

On the retailer’s quarterly call, CEO Karen Katz said problems with new systems, which included inventory tracking, have resulted in some sales losses over the past six months.

Neiman Marcus reported a net loss of $117.1 million for the quarter, ended Jan. 28, compared to net earnings of $7.9 million the period. The company also took a $153.8 million impairment charge.

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Footwear retailer’s sales rise, but fall short on expectations

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

DSW credits inventory management and more focused campaigns for its profit growth during the fourth quarter.

For the period ended January 28, 2017, the chain’s sales increased 0.4% to $674.6 million, including $27.9 million in revenues from Ebuys. This profit of 20 cents per share was four cents better than analysts were expecting for the quarter, however sales missed their estimates of $695.5 million.

Adjusted net income was $16.5 million, an increase of 43% over last year.

The footwear and accessories retailer’s same-store sales decreased 7%, compared to last year's 0.7% increase. Net income was $30.5 million, which included a net favorable adjustment of $0.18 per share related to the reduction of its contingent consideration liability, the amortization of acquired intangibles and inventory step-up costs related to Ebuys, and restructuring expenses.

"Our fourth quarter continued our return to year-over-year profitability growth, with top line results that met our comp guidance,” said Roger Rawlins, the chain’s CEO. “Inventory management and a product-focused campaign drove significantly higher gross margin, which, cou-pled with better expense control, resulted in a 22% increase in adjusted earnings per share this fall season."

For the year, sales increased 3.5% to $2.7 billion, including $83.9 million from the company's acquisition of Ebuys. Same-store sales decreased by 3% compared to last year's 0.8% increase, and adjusted net income was $120.1 million, or $1.46 per diluted share, a 5% decrease from last year.

"After making fundamental changes to our core business last year, we are laser focused on driving comp growth through our merchandise and allo-cation initiatives and the elevation of our customer's digital experience,” Rawlins added. “Furthermore, we are building a foundation to support the growth of Ebuys and Town Shoes and to leverage synergies across all of our retail brands.”

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Report: Asda offers pay rise for flexible working

BY CSA STAFF

Asda is making its workforce an enticing offer.

The British supermarket owned by Walmart is offering staff in its stores a 14% increase in their hourly pay if they sign a contract requiring more flexible working, according to Reuters.

The deal requires Asda staff to work in different parts of stores and dif-ferent days or hours, including public holidays. All breaks will be un-paid.

The new rate, which is 1 pound above the government mandated National Living Wage increase, will go into effect April 1.

Click here to read more.

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