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October comps a mixed bag

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — With retail books closed prior to Hurricane Sandy’s arrival in the Northeast, most retailers experienced same-store sales gains for the month of October, some with stronger showings than others.

The 17 retail chains tracked by Thomson Reuters are predicted to report 4.3% growth in October same-store sales, up slightly over the 4.1% advance reported in the year-ago period and a significant gain over September’s 0.8% rise.

Among specialty retailers, Gap and Limited showed the greatest muscle in a weaker October category, with lifted same-store sales of 4% and 3% respectively.

Gap Inc.’s swing to a 4% same-store sales gain in October from its 6% decrease in the same period last year represented measurable strides for the company, said CEO Glenn Murphy. “We’re very pleased with the continued momentum in the business across all brands in North America,” said Murphy. “Our focus remains on offering great product to our customers in order to sustain our business performance.” By brand, Gap North America recorded a 6% Oct. same-store sales gain versus negative 5% last year, Banana Republic North America was up 5% versus up just 1% last year, and Old Navy North America recorded a 5% same-store sales gain versus negative 9% last year.

For the quarter, Gap reported an 8% increase in net sales to $3.86 billion, and it has raised its third-quarter guidance 60% over last year.

At Limited Brands Inc., sales momentum slowed as the October 2012 same-store sales gain of 3% missed Wall Street’s expected 5% rise. Victoria’s Secret was the big disappointment as same-store sales growth slowed to 3% while analysts expected a 6.1% gain.

The Buckle surprised with a 3.8% same-store sales rise, when a decrease of 1.3% was expected.

Other same-store sales results among the specialty retail category include:

  • Wet Seal’s comps dropped 7.6%;
  • Zumiez edged up 0.6%;
  • Cato was flat; and
  • Hot Topic rose 0.2%.

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Walgreens, Alliance Boots form new jointly owned company: Walgreens Boots Alliance Development

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens has formally set up a new company, jointly owned with Alliance Boots, as part of their strategic partnership’s synergy program.

The new company, called Walgreens Boots Alliance Development, will be based in Bern, Switzerland.

No other details were released.

Walgreens and Alliance Boots first announced their proposed acquisition strategy in June and last month named CFO Wade Miquelon to an expanded and global leadership role as president of value creation services and international division. In that capacity, Miquelon serves as Wasson’s senior leader in collaborating with Alliance Boots management team to execute the new global strategic partnership.

At the time, Walgreens also named Robert Zimmerman, SVP international and international chief administration officer, as the lead executive for the Walgreens-Alliance Boots’ "synergy team." Former Wellpoint senior executive Brad Fluegel assumed the role of chief strategy officer at Walgreens.

As part of the Alliance Boots announcement in June, Walgreens stated that it expects combined synergies across both companies of between $100 million and $150 million in the first year and $1 billion by the end of 2016. To carry out a focused effort to capture those synergies, the company is setting up six new “global synergy teams” in Miquelon’s new organization that will work closely with Alliance Boots.

By 2016, the deal is projected to transform Walgreens from a $72 billion operator — with two-thirds of its revenue coming from its U.S. pharmacy business — to a $130 billion global health-and-wellness player.


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Walmart brings back Facebook giving campaign

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has launched its 2012 "12 Days of Giving" campaign by calling on Facebook users to once again nominate the nonprofits that are making an impact in their local communities and need support. Each of the "12 Days" will focus on a different giving theme, including hunger, military assistance and disaster relief. For example, the campaign empowers Americans to recognize nonprofits like those providing much needed aid to the victims of this week’s devastating storm in the Northeast as well as those supporting the communities affected by other weather events and wildfires earlier this year. The winning nonprofits will receive a portion of a $1.5 million grant.

Starting today through Nov. 18, users can visit the Live Better tab on Walmart’s Facebook page to nominate a nonprofit providing basic needs in their communities. Grant recipients will be announced daily on Facebook and Twitter from Dec. 10 to Dec. 21.

"There are so many local nonprofits making a positive impact every day and yet, oftentimes we don’t hear enough about them or their needs. With this campaign, we want to recognize these organizations and the difference they are making in their communities," said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation. "This holiday season, we are asking and depending on consumers to tell us about the organizations in their communities who need our support. Together, we can help more people who need it most."

During the 2012 "12 Days of Giving" campaign, Walmart is providing a total of $1.5 million in grants to benefit local communities across the country.

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