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Report: India closer to allowing foreign retail investment

BY CSA STAFF

New Delhi, India —India will announce new rules for foreign investment in retail by April 2012, which would pave the way for such retailers as Wal-Mart Stores, Carrefour SA and other large chains to open stores in the country, Bloomberg reported.

“We are much further down the process than people think,” said Junior Trade Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia in an interview with Bloomberg. “I think it is a huge opportunity for India.”

Indian law limits foreign retail investment to ownership of wholesale stores or 51% holdings in single-brand shops. The government prohibits non-Indian companies from operating multi-brand outlets to protect local store owners.

India is the third-most attractive retail market for global retailers among the thirty largest emerging markets, according to AT Kearney. The growing middle class, expanding economy and increasingly brand-conscious population will help push retail sales up by 35% during the next three years, the company said in a June report.

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Brown Shoe names Diane Sullivan CEO

BY CSA STAFF

St. Louis— Brown Shoe Co., which operates Famous Footwear Stores, said Thursday it has named Diane M. Sullivan president and CEO.

The company announced in January that it had promoted Sullivan, its president and COO. She steps into the role Thursday following a four-month transition period from chairman and CEO Ronald A. Fromm.

Fromm remains Brown Shoe’s chairman of the board.

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Fred’s net income increases 16%

BY CSA STAFF

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s net income increased 16% to $9.5 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $8.2 million, or 21 cents per diluted share in the year-earlier period.

The retailer said that total sales rose 3% to $484.4 million from $471.6 million for the same period last year. For comps, Fred’s reported a 1% rise on top of a 2.2% increase for the first quarter last year.

Fred’s gross profit for first quarter 2011 increased 1% to $137.9 million from $136.9 million in the prior-year period.

During the first quarter, Fred’s opened one new store and four pharmacy express locations and closed seven underperforming stores and one pharmacy express location as part of its 2011 operating plan. Additionally, one franchise also was closed during the quarter. The company also remodeled and refreshed 56 stores with its new Core 5 elements in the quarter, bringing the total stores upgraded to 264 during 2010 and 2011.

Looking ahead, Fred’s expects its earnings per share to increase between 8% and 23% for the second quarter to a range of 14 cents to 16 cents.

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