OPERATIONS

Report: Execs spending less on security, but remain confident

BY Staff Writer

New York City — Research released Wednesday by PwC found that retail and consumer executives are spending less on security due to insufficient capital, but that they maintain confidence in their information security, despite an increase in security incidents.

PwC’s new report, which surveyed nearly 1,000 senior industry executives from the R&C industry, revealed that 72% of respondents are either very confident (35%) or somewhat confident (37%) that their information security practices are effective; however, according to PwC, companies may be developing a false sense of security as the number of cyber crime incidents continues to rise.

Among key findings, PwC found that companies have been more reluctant to spend on security priorities than previous years, citing insufficient capital and operating expenditures as the leading obstacles to the effectiveness of their information security strategy. Furthermore, confidence remains high, but it has declined 13 points since 2007.

Three-quarters of respondents were able to provide details about their security breaches while less than half of respondents could do so in previous years, reflecting more awareness of security issues among R&C executives.

Nearly half (48%) of respondents are confident that security spending will increase anywhere from 10% to 30% or more within the next year. And 34% are implementing strategies to keep pace with employee use of personal electronic devices.

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FINANCE

Uniqlo parent reports full-year profit drop

BY Staff Writer

Tokyo — Fast Retailing Co., parent to the Uniqlo chain of stores, reported Wednesday that profit for the full year fell 12% to $709.2 million. The company blamed the performance decline on bad weather, but said it will accelerate store openings overseas, which will compensate for the decline.

On Friday, Fast Retailing will open it largest store to date – on New York City’s 34th Street at Fifth Avenue. Earlier, in September, the company unveiled plans to open 200 to 300 stores per year to make it the world’s biggest apparel retailer. It will launch a joint venture with SM Retail to operate its Uniqlo chain in the Philippines.

Same-store sales for the fiscal year dipped 6%, and revenue edged up 0.7%.

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OPERATIONS

Ann Taylor parent to launch women’s initiative

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — Ann Inc., parent to Ann Taylor and Loft brands, announced Wednesday it will launch a four-year investment in young women’s leadership.

According to ANN president and CEO, Kay Krill, who joined with women’s leadership organization Vital Voices president and CEO Alyse Nelson, the pair will launch ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative. Ann Inc. has committed $1.3 million to the program, which will connect and inspire a network of high school junior and senior students across the United States. Selected applicants will receive leadership training and grants to develop projects to advance women and girls in their communities and around the world.

As part of the launch, 10 young women were selected to receive ANNpower Grant Awards.

"We are a company by women for women and connecting with the next generation of leaders is personal for us,” said Krill.

In 2012, the inaugural ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum will convene in Washington, D.C. The 10 grantees and an additional 40 rising high school junior and senior girls from across the United States will participate in a week-long leadership training and mentorship experience with the established women leaders of the Vital Voices Global Network of human rights defenders, civil society advocates, and social and economic entrepreneurs.

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