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Promotions help drive June sales; Costco same-store sales up 6%

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Retail sales generally improved in June, helped by good weather and big discounts as retailers look to clear inventory for the back-to-school season.

Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a 6% increase in June same-store sales, helped by higher fuel prices. Its results topped Wall Street estimates.

Excluding the impact of foreign exchange rates and gasoline prices, Costco’s same-store sales increased 6% for the five-week period ended July 6. The metric rose 5% in the United States and 7% overseas.

Net sales rose 10% to $10.89 billion.

While the retailers that still report same-store sales were in line or slightly better than had been expected, there were exceptions. L Brands reported a 2% increase in June same-store sales, below estimates for a 3.1% increase. Growth was led by a 3% increase in sales for the company’s Victoria’s Secret brand

In other June results:

• Zumiez reported a 3.1% rise in same-store sales. Net sales for June rose 11.1% to $65.3 million, from $58.8 million in the year-ago period.

• Stein Mart’s same-store sales increased 2.6%. Total revenue for the five weeks ended July 5 rose 4% to $113.2 million.

• The Buckle posted a 0.7% increase in same-store sales. Net sales for the period increased 2.8% to $84.8 million, from $82.5 million last year.

• Fred’s same-store sales fell 0.6%. Total sales for the month increased 2% to $191.2 million, from $187.3 million last year.

• Gap reported a 7% drop in global same-store sales at both its Gap and Banana Republic banners during June 2014. Global same-store sales at Gap’s Old Navy banner rose 7%. June net sales at Gap increased 1% compared with the same period last year, to $1.54 billion from $1.53 billion.

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Warby Parker, Dallas

BY CSA STAFF
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Warby Parker, the hip online eyewear retailer, has opened its sixth retail location, a 1,050-sq.-ft. store in Dallas.

The store has a 1950s classroom look, with books, globes, school supplies, apples and a wall of framed eyewear frames illustrated on chalkboards. A sculpture of a giant pencil sticks out of the roof, and an old-fashioned yellow school bus is parked outside. (The same bus visited several U.S. cities last year on the Warby Parker’s “Class Trip” promotion.) The bus, which has been fitted with leather sofas and oak shelves and houses Warby Parker’s nonprescription sunglass selection, will be parked permanently outside the store.

“Shoppers’ expectations are so much higher now because they have so many choices, partly because of e-commerce,” said Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal, a report on Dallasnews.com. “So to stand out, the best retailers will create the best experiences because shopping is also a form of entertainment.”


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Shop Your Way expands rewards program

BY CSA STAFF

Sears Holdings’ Shop Your Way membership program and social shopping community has expanded its rewards program with the addition of more than 50 brand-name partners, which means members will be able to earn rewards through more places than ever.

"Members are already shopping for many of these products and services and now they can be rewarded for it," said Eric Jaffe, SVP of Shop Your Way. "Our goal is to make it easy to earn rewards wherever you shop, and our growing partner network shows we are poised to deliver."

Shop Your Way partners include Burger King restaurants, Groupon, Avis Car Rental, Hearst Magazines, Budget, 1-800-FLOWERS, Red Envelope, LifeLock, ScoreBig and Shoney’s. Examples of everyday discounts and rewards include $25-$50 in points back on services; up to 10% back in points on events and entertainment tickets; and 2% or more in points at thousands of restaurants.

Partners also frequently present limited-time member promotions, above their regular offers. For example, Burger King restaurants just launched a limited-time "Burger Back" promotion that gives members up to $10 ($12 for VIPs) in Shop Your Way points on one purchase using their eligible Visa or MasterCard through July 31 (may only be redeemed once per member).

"It’s like getting one entire Burger King meal back in free points," Jaffe added.

Burger King restaurants are among the partners contributing to Shop Your Way’s expanded rewards offering via the Card Link program; members register their eligible Visa or MasterCard debit or credit cards one time, then automatically earn points every time they make a qualifying purchase with a participating partner. Rewards earned from either program can then be redeemed on millions of products at ShopYourWay.com.

Members will also be able to purchase any Groupon deal featured on ShopYourWay.com/Groupon — including all of the same localized offers they’re accustomed to seeing — and they’ll automatically receive 5% back in Shop Your Way points. Hearst Magazines is offering specially priced one-year subscriptions to magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Car & Driver at ShopYourWay.com/Mags, and members earn 4,999 points ($4.99) for each subscription purchased.

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