OPERATIONS

Report: Abercrombie installing in-store mobile charging stations

BY Dan Berthiaume

New Albany, Ohio – Abercrombie & Fitch is reportedly rolling out charging stations for mobile phones and tablets in its stores. According to TheStreet, there are currently two Abercrombie & Fitch stores with mobile charging stations installed, and the retailer plans to roll out the stations at several more Abercrombie and Hollister stores by the end of the year.

Abercrombie is also providing lockers so customers can leave their mobile devices to charge without worrying about them being stolen. Starbucks announced it would roll out electrified Powermat charging spots on June 11, and Urban Outfitters and Apple have also both piloted mobile charging stations in select stores.

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FINANCE

Promotions impact Pier 1 profit

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fort Worth, Texas – Promotions took their toll on profitability at Pier Imports Inc. during the first quarter of fiscal 2015. The company reduced its earnings guidance for fiscal 2015.

Net earnings fell 25% to $15.1 million from $20.3 million in the same quarter of fiscal 2014.

Total sales for the first quarter were $419.1 million, a 6.1% increase from $394.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Same-store sales increased 6.3%, attributable to increases in total brand traffic, conversion and higher average ticket.

"The retail environment remains highly promotional and is pressuring gross profit in the near-term," said CEO Alex W. Smith. "As a result, we are adjusting our full-year earnings forecast accordingly."

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News

Pier 1 Imports’ e-commerce strategy gains momentum

BY CSA STAFF

Increasing strength in Pier 1 Imports’ e-commerce business translated into better-than-expected sales that fueled the company’s overall financial results for the first quarter.

Total sales for the quarter were $419.1 million, a 6.1% increase versus $394.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Comparable sales increased 6.3% during the quarter, driven by increases in total brand traffic, conversion and higher average ticket. E-commerce sales exceeded the company’s estimates, reaching 9% of sales for the quarter.

“Our stores continue to serve as an important and productive gateway to Pier1.com, with approximately one-quarter of our online transactions originating at the store and one-third of orders placed at home being picked up in-store,” said president and CEO Alex W. Smith. “Given the momentum we are experiencing, we now anticipate that sales through Pier1.com will exceed $200 million in fiscal 2015. Nevertheless, the retail environment remains highly promotional and is pressuring gross profit in the near-term. As a result, we are adjusting our full-year earnings forecast accordingly.”

The company’s expanded spring and outdoor assortments resonated with customers, according to Smith, and were buoyed by its marketing efforts. Smith added that investments in omnichannel capabilities has positioned the company well to drive brand growth.

Looking ahead, the company now expects to achieve e-commerce sales of at least $200 million in fiscal 2015, and e-commerce sales of at least $400 million in fiscal 2016. This compares to previous expectations for e-commerce sales to represent 10% of total sales by the end of fiscal 2016. The company reiterated its previously stated goals for sales per retail sq. ft. of $225 and operating margins of approximately 11% to 11.5% by the end of fiscal 2016.

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