FINANCE

Pier 1 boosts net income, sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fort Worth, Texas – Pier 1 Imports boosted net income and sales during the third quarter of fiscal 2014 compared to the same period in the prior year, partially aided by strong Thanksgiving weekend performance. Net income totaled $26.8 million, up 13% from $23.7 million.

Total sales for the third quarter were $465.5 million, a 9.6% increase from $424.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

Same-store sales rose 6.9%, primarily attributable to increases in conversion rate and higher average ticket.

“We’re pleased to deliver solid third quarter financial results,” stated Alex W. Smith, president and CEO. “Our unique and special merchandise assortments created a well-positioned value offer that resonated with our customers. Our more overtly promotional marketing stance drove strong traffic, and our store and e-commerce teams delivered on conversion. In fact, this year marked a new, all-time sales record for both Black Friday and the full post-Thanksgiving weekend.”

Looking ahead, Pier 1 predicts total sales growth in the high single-digit range and same-store sales growth in the mid-single-digit range for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. For the full fiscal year, Pier 1 expects total sales growth in the high single-digit range and same-store sales growth in the mid-single-digit range.

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STORE SPACES

Report: Samsung hires Apple store designer

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Jose, Calif. – Samsung has reportedly hired a high-level store designer from Apple. According to multiple media reports, the U.S., telecom unit of Samsung recently hired Tim Gudgel, a five-year veteran store designer at Apple, as VP and GM of retail sales operations.

Gudgel also spent six years at the Gehry Partners architecture firm. While at Apple, he was designer on a patent filing related to the curved glass roof of the Apple Store in Manhattan. Samsung does not currently have any free-standing U.S, stores, although it does have some stores-within-a-store at U.S. Best Buy locations. Neither Samsung nor Apple has made any official comment.

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REAL ESTATE

Report: Tesco plans India supermarket entry

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cheshunt, England – British supermarket and general merchandise retailer Tesco plc has reportedly applied to the Indian government for permission to buy a 50% stake in the Indian hypermarket chain Trent Hypermarket Ltd. According to Reuters, Tesco wants to open stores in western India and would become the first foreign retailer to open a supermarket in India.

Tesco would initially invest $100 million. India has long forbid foreign companies from holding a decision-making stake in supermarkets there, but loosened restrictions in late 2012. However, there are still strict laws in place requiring local sourcing of at least 30% of all goods, which is one reason Wal-Mart dissolved a partnership with Indian firm Bharti Enterprises in October 2013 and delayed plans to expand its presence in India.

Tesco and Wal-Mart have both had a small presence in India through minority partnerships with local retail chains for several years and have been lobbying the Indian government to make it easier for foreign firms to invest in supermarket businesses there.

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