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Report: Sears Test-Drives New Store Concept

BY CSA STAFF

Cincinnati, Three Sears stores in the Cincinnati area have a new look and mission and just in time for the holidays, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Elements of the approach, called Solutions Centers, may one day be rolled out to the retailer’s hundreds of other full-line stores in North America, the report said. Officials plan to track sales trends through all of 2008 before making any judgment.

Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky were chosen for the initiative because the demographics of the region closely match the rest of America, said Norm Buchanan, Sears district VP for store initiatives.

The report said that the company hopes the new approach will resonate with home renovation do-it-yourselfers, who may want a sneak peak at what the rooms will look like before they invest hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Design centers in each pod offer computerized imaging to show customers how new cabinets, shelves, flooring and lighting will look. Another hub involves home theater and other electronic choices for home entertainment.

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BJ’s reports 8% net sales increase

BY CSA STAFF

NATICK, Mass. BJ’s Wholesale Club on Tuesday reported a net income of $22.7 million for its third quarter, a 24% jump over the prior year’s period.

The wholesaler, who experienced a $1.4 million loss in 2006 because of post-tax and discontinued operations of the company’s ProFoods Restaurant Supply clubs, is seeing nothing but green this year.

Net sales for the third quarter were approximately $2.1 billion, an increase of 8% over the third quarter of 2006, while comparable-club sales grew by 3.4%.

According to the company, strong categories included televisions, small appliances, cheese, coffee, dairy, frozen produce, juices, meat, milk, office supplies, produce, soda and water. Weaker categories over last year included apparel, automotive and tools, cigarettes, pre-recorded video, residential furniture and tires.

BJ’s ceo Herb Zarkin said sales of perishable foods rose 8%—a product category carrying high profit margins that also lifted second quarter results. “Perishable foods represent our greatest opportunity to capture market share from supermarkets,” he noted.

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Ross Stores names Froman to board

BY CSA STAFF

PLEASANTON, Calif. Ross Stores announced on Wednesday that John W. Froman has been elected to its board of directors, effective immediately.

Froman served as president and ceo of NAMCO Pool & Patio from 2005 to 2007. Prior to that, he spent almost 20 years in various management roles at Circuit City, eventually serving as its evp and coo. He began his retail career over 30 years ago at Avon Products, Inc.

“We are delighted to have John Froman join our board of directors,” said vice chairman, president and ceo Michael Balmuth. “We believe that his extensive business knowledge and in-depth retail management experience will make him a valuable resource for the Company and its stockholders.”

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