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PacSun increases net loss in Q4

BY Dan Berthiaume

Anaheim, Calif. – Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. reported a net loss of $22.5 million during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, up from a net loss of $19.8 million in the same period a year earlier. Net sales dropped 2% to $218.6 million $222.8 million, while same-store sales rose 2%.

Pacific Sunwear cited the 53rd week in fiscal 2012 as negatively affecting its comparative fiscal 2013 results. Looking ahead, the retailer expects a same-store sales increase of 1 to 4% and revenues of $169 million to $174 million during fiscal 2014.

During the full fiscal year 2013, Pacific Sunwear reported a net loss of $48.7 million, down from a net loss of about $52.1 million in the prior fiscal year. Net sales were $797.8 million, up 2% from $784.7 million. Same-store sales increased 2%.

"We continue to be encouraged by our positive momentum within a challenging retail environment throughout the year, marked by eight straight quarters of positive comparable store sales, sustained gross margins, and reduced operating costs, all contributing to a significant improvement in our operating performance compared to fiscal 2012," said Gary H. Schoenfeld, president and CEO. "Looking ahead to fiscal 2014, our key priorities include showcasing our premium brand portfolio through curated assortments, managing inventory with on-trend fashion and speed to market, and continuing to elevate both our in-store and digital experience. Through our Golden State of Mind brand identity, we continually strive to deliver the creativity, diversity and optimism that is quintessentially California and unique to PacSun across all facets of our business."

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Deloitte: Consumer spending flat in February

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index remained flat in February 2014, showing only a marginal change. The Index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending.

The Index, which comprises four components, tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices, ticked down slightly to 3.9 from 4.0 last month. Highlights of the Index include:

Tax Burden: The tax rate stayed at 11.8%, consistent with recent months.

Initial Unemployment Claims: The four-week moving average of initial unemployment claims fell to 332,600, a 7% decrease from the previous month.

Real Wages: Real hourly wages moved up 0.2% to $8.82, and have been gradually increasing over the past year.

Real New Home Prices: New home prices dipped 2.3% to $111,000 from $113,000 the month prior.

"The fundamentals for consumer spending remain stable," said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s senior U.S. economist. "While the economy continues to grow at a moderate pace, expect growth to accelerate over the next six to eighteen months, and the outlook for consumer spending to improve along with the economy."

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Report: Nine-in-10 women research before purchase

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Diego – Nine-in-10 (91%) women conduct online research prior to making a purchase, and 92% are willing to pay more for competing products that receive positive online reviews. A new consumer survey from Interactions, “Retail Perceptions – The Power of Persuasion,” also found that 30% of women use a mobile device to conduct research and 37% of mobile users say they conduct research during their shopping trip.

Only 3% of women who shop online say that social media sites are their preferred source for product reviews, while 60% rely on retailers’ websites when deciding whether or not to purchase a product. The report also shows that 80% are influenced to purchase a product after viewing positive reviews, and 67% say they are less likely to purchase a product they were considering after viewing negative online reviews.

"These numbers speak to the impact that mobile is having on the retail industry,” said Giovanni DeMeo, VP of global marketing and analytics for Interactions. “Consumers want information on their terms and their schedules, which means that both retailers and manufacturers need to adapt, if they haven’t already,"

The primary research for “Retail Perceptions – The Power of Persuasion” was conducted in January 2014 by Interactions with a representative sample of women ages 18-60 across all geographies, income levels and ethnicities within the U.S.

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