OPERATIONS

Priscilla of Boston closes stores, shutting down operations

BY Staff Writer

Boston — High-end wedding dress maker and retailer Priscilla of Boston said Wednesday it will close at the end of the year. Its 19 store locations were shuttered on Wednesday, and its brands, which include Jewel by Priscilla of Boston and Platinum For Priscilla of Boston, also will be discontinued.

"After nearly 65 years of serving some of America’s most beautiful brides, we have made the difficult decision to close our salons after a thorough review of the business environment," the company said in a statement.

Priscilla of Boston was owned by Federated Department Stores until 2007, when Federated sold Priscilla and the David’s Bridal brand to private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners.

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Back-to-school, Irene aid Target’s August sales

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — The first month of Target’s third quarter is off to a solid start as the company reported a 4.1% same-store sales increase squarely in the middle of guidance that called for a low to mid single-digit gain.

The increase was driven primarily by growth in average transaction size with a lesser contribution coming from an increase in comparable-store transactions. The 4.1% increase comes on top of a prior year increase of 1.8%. The company said every region of the country experienced a healthy increase in comparable-store sales, but there was a noticeable sales acceleration in the Eastern U.S. late in the month in advance of Hurricane Irene. Target estimated the acceleration added about a half percentage point to August comps and forecast that September comps would likely be negatively affected by a similar amount. Even so, the company maintained the monthly forecast that has been in place for most of the year, which calls for a comp increase in the range of low to mid single digits.

“August comparable-store sales were in line with our expectations, reflecting solid results in our back-to-school and back-to-college categories,” said Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel. “While the pace of the economic recovery is uneven and uncertain, we are confident in our ability to execute on our strategy, to offer the right balance of extraordinary value, convenience, newness and differentiation and to remain our guests’ preferred shopping destination.”

As has been the case with prior monthly and quarterly sales reports, Target said August comparable-store sales in grocery increased in the mid to upper teens, while health care, beauty and household essentials increased in the mid single-digit range. Another area of increase was apparel, which was up slightly led by double-digit increases in the intimate, hosiery and performance segments. The company said same-store sales in hardline categories declined in the low single-digit range, and home categories declined slightly.

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Fresh & Easy broadens reach to Sacramento

BY CSA STAFF

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Fresh & Easy is slated to open its first six stores in the Sacramento region in 2012.

The stores will include three in Sacramento, one in Lincoln, one in Elk Grove and one in Folsom. The chain, which has opened 13 stores in northern California this year, opened a store in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco last week.

“We’re excited to continue to expand to new neighborhoods and create good jobs throughout California,” Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason said. “We believe everyone deserves access to fresh, wholesome food at affordable prices and we are looking forward to introducing Sacramento to Fresh & Easy.”

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