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RILA: Protecting customer data is top of mind for retailers

BY CSA STAFF

Arlington, Va. Retailers now more than ever are viewing the issues of privacy and security as strategic imperatives within their organizations, according to a report released by the Retail Industry Leaders Association in partnership with Retail Systems Research.

The report, entitled “Building Trust and Growing the Brand: The Role of Privacy and Security in Retail 2010,” contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities and information technology enablers surrounding security and privacy initiatives, as well as recommendations for creating successful internal and customer-facing policies.

“For 47% of overall respondents, proactively addressing privacy and security issues enables them to move forward with an aggressive cross-channel agenda,” said Steve Rowen, co-author of the report. “Customers are researching, shopping, and returning any way they please, in any channel, in any combination of channels — in ways that were not predicted even a few short years ago. Retailers know this, and for nearly half of them, there is a strong recognition that privacy and security are a prerequisite to keeping a competitive position in the game.”

When it comes to the attitudes toward customer concerns, 87% of winning retailers believe that recent publicized breaches have raised consumer awareness about payment data. Seventy-two percent of winning retailers shared that privacy is a concern for their customers and retail products and services require the protection of sensitive information.

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Michaels comps down for the quarter

BY CSA STAFF

IRVING, Texas Michaels Stores reported that total sales for the quarter were $847 million, a 1% increase from fiscal 2007 first quarter sales of $839 million. Same-store sales for the comparable 13-week period decreased 2.9%.

Ceo, Brian Cornell, said, “While our overall comps for the first quarter declined 2.9%, we were very encouraged with the sales of our kids and specialty craft categories, scrapbooking and frame and art supplies. Sales in April showed a reversal of trend with same-store sales up 3.1% on a strong increase in transactions. This positive sales and transaction performance gives us confidence that our new marketing and merchandising programs are connecting with our Michaels customers.”

For fiscal 2008, the company expects same-store sales growth  to be approximately flat given the current economic environment.

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Kirkland’s 1Q sales up 2.1%

BY CSA STAFF

JACKSON, Tenn. Kirkland’s reported that net sales for the first quarter ended May 3 increased 2.1% to $84.1 million from $82.3 million for the first quarter ended May 5, 2007. Comparable-store sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 increased 4.3% compared with an 18.8% comparable-stores sales decrease in the first quarter of fiscal 2007.

The company reported a net loss of $2.6 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, for the 13-week period ended May 3, 2008, compared with a net loss of $7.5 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, in the 13-week period ended May 5, 2007.

Robert Alderson, Kirkland’s president and ceo, said, “The first quarter results reflect strong merchandising execution and the benefits of aggressive financial initiatives that have reduced our operating costs, improved cash flow and strengthened our liquidity. During the quarter, we experienced improved customer conversions as shoppers have reacted very favorably to our merchandise mix. The positive comparable-store sales and trimming of unproductive stores led to leveraging of occupancy and distribution costs. Combined with an improvement in merchandise margin and a year-over-year reduction in operating costs of almost $5 million, we were able to post a significant improvement in our pre-tax results.

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