FINANCE

Report: Gap selects new Australian franchisee

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Gap Inc. has reportedly signed a non-binding agreement for Australia-based Oroton Group to take control of its franchise operation in Australia, New Zealand, and some Pacific islands. According to the Wall Street Journal, Oroton Group will start running Gap’s three franchise stores in Australia in November 2013 and purchase some inventory and store fixtures from current Gap franchisee Brand Republic Pty Ltd.

Brand Republic has been Gap’s Australian franchisee since 2010 and had planned to open 10-15 Gap stores by 2014. Oroton Group also recently signed a 10-year Australian franchise agreement with Brooks Brothers and had a license to distribute Ralph Lauren apparel in Australia and New Zealand expire in June 2013.

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FINANCE

Mall traffic impacts Wet Seal forecast

BY Dan Berthiaume

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – The Wet Seal Inc. revising its financial guidance for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 ending November 2, 2013. The company now expects to report a same-store sales increase in the low-single digits, compared to previously forecast mid-single digits, as well as a larger net loss than previously estimated.

“Following our strong start to the quarter, mall traffic softened considerably during September and has continued into October, resulting in an increasingly promotional competitive environment in recent weeks,” said John D. Goodman, CEO of Wet Seal. “We expect to deliver improvement in most key financial metrics versus the year ago period, but the need to implement more extensive promotions than planned has caused us to lower our margin and earnings expectations for the quarter.”

The company will report third quarter fiscal 2013 sales on Nov. 7, 2013, and expects to report full financial results and hold its quarterly earnings conference call on Nov. 25, 2013.

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FINANCE

Report: Kenyan retailer decides against Wal-Mart sale

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Kenyan retailer Naivas reportedly will not sell a controlling interest in the company to Wal-Mart’s South African subsidiary Massmart. According to Reuters, a Naivas executive said the retailer no longer plans to sell 50% plus one share of its stock to Massmart.

Reports in August 2013 indicated Naivas was preparing to sell a controlling stake to Massmart. Massmart executives have publicly stated the retailer, which currently operates 29 stores in 11 African countries outside South Africa, still intends to expand into Kenya.

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