FINANCE

New Sears CEO pledges to fix sales decline

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Sears Holdings’ new CEO, Louis D’Ambrosio, committed himself on Tuesday to help turn around the faltering chain by emphasizing its core brands, including Craftsman, Kenmore and Land’s End, and by smarter marketing to customers, the Associated Press reported.

D’Ambrosio told shareholders at Sears Holding Corp.’s annual meeting that improving the company’s clothing business will be a priority. He said he has high hopes for two new apparel lines in particular: The Kardashian Collection, which debuts in August in 400 Sears stores, and Sofia Vergara, from the star of ABC’s "Modern Family."

The chief executive spoke after the company warned on Monday that its first-quarter loss will be bigger than expected. Same-store sales at Kmart stores fell 1.6% during the quarter, and was down 5.2% at U.S. Sears stores.

D’Ambrosio, who was brought in by chairman Edward Lampert two months back, is Sears’ first permanent CEO since 2008. He previously was CEO of the technology company Avaya.

In addition to capitalizing on Sears’ core brand, another top priority, D’Ambrosio said, will be extending the company’s lead in appliance sales through innovation discounting. Sears maintains a 30% share of the appliance market and has a 20% or more in tools, power fitness equipment and power lawn and garden tools, the Associated Press reported.

D’Ambrosio also wants to grow Sears’ services business, possibly by extending out into electronics and by outsourcing home improvement services to outside firms.

Speaking at the meeting, Lampert was upfront about his frustration with ever-declining clothing sales. He said the company needs to "repurpose" the huge amount of space devoted to apparel, either by adding new brands or partnering with other retailers.

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C.Floz says:
Nov-30-2012 11:10 am

He has a mountain to climb
He has a mountain to climb but the mountain is worth taking. The challenge is there and I am confident that he is up to the task. - Markus Lattner

C.Floz says:
Nov-30-2012 11:10 am

He has a mountain to climb but the mountain is worth taking. The challenge is there and I am confident that he is up to the task. - Markus Lattner

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News

Sears gives gloomy outlook ahead of annual meeting

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings will host its annual meeting on May 4, and attendees present will likely want to know how the company plans to improve sales and return to profitability under the leadership of its new CEO,Lou D’Ambrosio.

Ahead of the meeting, the company reported a same-store sales decline of 3.6% for its fiscal first quarter, which included a 1.6% decrease at its Kmart stores and a 5.2% decrease its Sears Domestic stores. According to the company, the comps decline was driven by poor performances in appliances, apparel and consumer electronics. The decline was offset by strong performances in home, sporting goods, jewelry and footwear.

Sears Holdings said it is expecting a first-quarter net loss of between $145 million and $195 million, or between $1.35 and $1.81 per diluted share. In the first quarter of fiscal 2010, the company reported net income attributable to Holdings’ shareholders of $16 million, or 14 cents per diluted share.

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OPERATIONS

Target in Canadian court over trademark dispute

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Target Corp. was due in court in Canada on Monday in an attempt to win exclusive right to use its name in Canada, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Target is asking the court to impose a preliminary injunction against Canadian retailer Isaac Benitah and his company, Fairweather, which owns 15 stores across Canada called Target Apparel and has a logo similar to that of Target Corp, the report said.

Target Corp. and Benitah have been at odds for nearly 10 years now as to owns the rights to the Target name in Canada. The filing alleged Mr. Benitah’s use of the Target name on his stores is "deliberately calculated to deceive and confuse the public in Canada,” according to the report.

Benitah’s company has filed a counterclaim denying the allegations and asking for exclusive rights to the Target name. It also asked for $250 million damages from the chain.

Benitah owns several Canadian retail chains with a total of 300 stores. His Target-named stores feature the name in big block letters, with the word Apparel in smaller lettering below. One of his advertisements for new store openings incorporated a bull’s-eye design.

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