FINANCE

OfficeMax Profit Climbs on Reduced Expenses

BY CSA STAFF

New York City OfficeMax Inc. posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, helped by lower expenses and improved margins.

The company said fourth-quarter profit rose to $71.5 million from $58 million a year earlier. Excluding special items, OfficeMax said its profit was $51.1 million.

Meanwhile, quarterly sales fell 2.6% to $2.2 billion. Sales in OfficeMax’s contract business fell 0.8% during the quarter, while its retail segment saw a 4.5% drop in sales.

The company also said gross margin at its retail segment rose 30% during the quarter.

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FINANCE

ShopperTrak: Weekly Sales Up 5.9%

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago ShopperTrak RCT Corp.’s National Retail Sales Estimate reported that February continued its strong retail showing as sales for the week ending Feb. 16 increased a healthy 5.9% compared to the same time period last year. It also reported that sales rose 11.1% compared to the previous week ending February 9 of last year.

GAFO retail sales showed impressive gains last week as consumers rushed to various retail locations to shop for Valentine’s Day gifts and to take advantage of widespread President’s Day sales. So far, ShopperTrak’s NRSE has posted an increase six out of seven possible weeks in 2008.

ShopperTrak also reported that to date, average weekly sales for February vs. last year are up 1.3%.

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OPERATIONS

Old Navy President Steps Down

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco Gap Inc. has parted ways with an executive who spent the past 16 months trying to engineer a turnaround at the company’s struggling Old Navy chain. Dawn Robertson stepped down as Old Navy’s president by “mutual decision,” the company said Tuesday.

Tom Wyatt, who runs Gap’s outlet division, will be Old Navy’s acting president until a permanent replacement is found.

Robertson was hired in October 2006 by Paul Pressler, who stepped down as Gap’s CEO just a few months later.

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