FINANCE

Pier 1 misses Q2 income expectations

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fort Worth, Texas – Pier 1 Imports, Inc. substantially missed expectations with a 32% decline in net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 compared to the same period last year. Net income totaled $17.8 million in the most recent fiscal quarter, down from $26.2 million.

Total sales were $395.6 million, a 7.6% increase from $367.6 million a year earlier. Comparable store sales increased 3.5% during the second quarter.

Alex W. Smith, president and CEO of Pier 1, cited misguided marketing and store assortments as drivers of the retailer’s poor earnings performance.

“During the second quarter, the efforts focused around our short- and long-term goals fell slightly out of balance,” Smith said. “In particular, our marketing initiatives did not include appropriate messaging around clearance and promotional activity in our stores, or customer acquisition generally, which contributed to lower than expected store traffic. We should also have done a better job of flowing new product to the stores and reflecting those items in the floor set.”

Looking ahead, Pier 1 expects full-year revenue growth of a high-single-digit rate and also plans to return to advertising on network TV during the upcoming holiday season.

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FINANCE

Rue21 stockholders approve Apax merger

BY Dan Berthiaume

Warrendale, Pa. — Rue21 stockholders have approved the previously announced merger agreement under which funds advised by Apax Partners will acquire the shares of Rue21 for $42 per share in cash. Approximately 99.7% of the shares voted at today’s special stockholder meeting voted in favor of the agreement.

“We are pleased that our stockholders recognize the significant merits of this transaction,” said Bob Fisch, president, CEO and chairman of Rue21. “We look forward to completing the transaction quickly and to working with the Apax team toward achieving our long-term objectives as a leading growth specialty retailer.”

The transaction is expected to close in early October 2013, at which time Rue21 will cease to be traded on NASDAQ.

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Lands’ End seeks to make global e-commerce easier

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dodgeville, Wis. — Lands’ End has launched an easier and more efficient online shopping experience for international customers. Customers can now view local pricing the same way they would if they were ordering from a local site.

U.S. prices on landsend.com can be converted into more than 60 local currencies.

In addition, all fees (duty, tax and shipping) will be displayed and included in the order total at checkout.

Geo-targeted based on the user’s IP address, landsend.com will automatically default to the country where the user is located. Users also have the option to manually choose the currency they would like the site to calculate. Previously, all prices on landsend.com were in USD and international customers manually configured the cost of their purchase based on their local currency. In addition, duty was not included in the checkout price and customers received a bill for those costs at a later date.

"We are thrilled to offer an updated online shopping experience for our international customers that is as seamless as it is for our U.S. customers," said Bry Roskoz, senior VP of international at Lands’ End. "This enhanced functionality is a big step for us as we continue to grow our business globally and introduce new customers to the Lands’ End brand."

The company is working with Borderfree, an e-commerce technology and services platform that partners with U.S. companies to provide an easier and more efficient online shopping experience for international customers.

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