Report: Blockbuster seeking buyer for European operations
New York City Blockbuster is putting its European stores up for sale, according to reports.
The struggling movie rental company plans to shed its 650 British stores, along with locations in Denmark, Italy and Ireland, in an effort to raise cash, the Sunday Times reported. The newspaper said Blockbuster hired Winchester Capital to find a buyer.
According to the article, Blockbuster values its European operation at about 50 million pounds, or around $78 million.
Ann Taylor swings to surprise Q4 profit
New York City Ann Taylor Stores Corp. reported Friday that it swung to a profit in the quarter ended Jan. 30, as it reduced expenses and lowered charges.
The retailer earned $41,000 for the quarter, compared with a loss of $375.6 million in the year-ago period.
The prior-year period included a $286.6 million goodwill impairment charge, as well as $33 million in restructuring charges and $26.8 million in asset impairment charges. The latest quarter included restructuring charges of just $3.6 million.
The performance topped Wall Street expectations.
Sales declined 3% to $469.1 million from $483.4 million, missing analysts’ projection of $472.3 million.
Same-store sales were flat during the quarter.
Ann Taylor president and CEO Kay Krill said the quarter benefited from strong product mixes at the retailer’s Loft and namesake stores, as well as tight inventory management and promotions.
Ann Taylor’s full-year loss narrowed to $18.2 million, from a loss of $333.9 million in the previous year. Sales dropped 16% to $1.83 billion from $2.19 billion, with same-store sales down 17.8%.
Ann Taylor operated 907 stores in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as of Jan. 30.
Hibbett Sports quarterly sales up 9.6%
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Hibbett Sports net sales for the 13-week period ended Jan. 30 increased 12.8% to $166.8 million compared with $147.9 million for the 13-week period ended Jan. 31, 2009. Comparable-store sales increased 9.6%. Net income for the 13-week period ended Jan. 30 increased 54.0% to $11.8 million compared with $7.6 million for the 13-week period ended Jan. 31, 2009. Earnings per diluted share increased 52.1% to 40 cents compared with 26 cents for the 13-week period ended Jan. 31, 2009.
Net sales for the 52-week fiscal year ended January 30, 2010, increased 5.2% to $593.5 million compared with $564.2 million for the 52-week period ended January 31, 2009. Comparable store sales increased 0.7%. Net income in Fiscal 2010 increased 10.5% to $32.5 million compared with $29.4 million in Fiscal 2009. Earnings per diluted share increased 10% to $1.12 compared with $1.02 for the 52-week period ended Jan. 31, 2009.
Mickey Newsome, executive chairman, stated, “We are pleased with the strong comparable stores’ sales performance delivered by all merchandise categories during the quarter. Approximately one-third of this increase can be attributed to a strong demand for licensed products due to both the University of Alabama and the New Orleans Saints successful football seasons and resulting championships. We are encouraged that the positive sales trend has accelerated into the first quarter of Fiscal 2011.”
The company issued its earnings guidance for Fiscal 2011 with a range of $1.12 to $1.30 per diluted share and an increase in comparable-store sales of 1% to 4%.