FINANCE

Office Depot reports Q1 loss amid weak sales

BY CSA STAFF

Boca Raton, Fla. — Office Depot reported a first quarter loss of $5.4 million, down from a profit of $29.5 million in the prior-year period, amid weaker sales and a higher tax rate.

Total company sales for the quarter were $2.97 billion, down 3% from last year.

Last month, Office Depot was forced to restate its 2010 earnings, turning a net profit into a loss, due to a tax error. The chain also is looking for a permanent chief executive and has recently settled charges of improper pricing under certain state and local government contracts.

“Our first-quarter operating results were lower than the prior year due to the impact of lower sales,” said interim chairman and CEO Neil Austrian. “However, we are encouraged by the progress we’re making throughout the enterprise to improve the future operating performance of the company.”

Sales in the North American retail division were $1.3 billion, down 2% compared to a year ago. Same-store sales fell 1%.

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FINANCE

Coach Q3 profit boosted by strong sales in North America

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Coach’s third-quarter net income increased 18% amid higher demand in North America, which helped offset an estimated $20 million hit to its revenue from Japan’s tsunami and earthquake. Same-store sales in North America rose 10.3%. Analysts said Coach’s results offered further proof that spending by affluent shoppers is back on track and rising faster than other segments.

Net income rose to $186 million for the three months that ended April 2, up from $157.6 million a year earlier. Revenue rose nearly 15% to $950.7 million.

Revenue from Coach stores and online orders rose 15% to $832 million. Revenue from sales to department stores and other retail outlets rose 14% to $119 million.

During the third quarter of fiscal 2011, the company closed three retail stores and opened five factory stores in North America, bringing the total to 344 retail stores and 134 factory stores – including eight Men’s factory stores – as of April 2.

Coach chairman and CEO Lew Frankfort said that the company is achieving excellent results in all retail stores, including its dedicated men’s shops in Japan and New York City.

“We’re looking forward to opening two more men’s retail stores in the U.S. over the next few months,” he added.

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OPERATIONS

With 90 stores on tap for 2011, Big Lots appoints executive VPs

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Big Lots, which plans to open 90 stores this year, has made two key merchandising moves to facilitate its planned growth.

The retailer has hired former Sears merchandising executive Doug Wurl to serve as its executive VP merchandising. He assumes responsibilities previously held by John Martin, who was named executive VP administration. In his new role, Martin will have responsibility for store operations and human resources.

Big Lots ended last year with 1,398 stores nationwide and plans to open 90 units this year while closing 45 others.

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