OPERATIONS

Safeway launches online and mobile savings tool

BY Marianne Wilson

Portland, Ore. — Safeway launched an online and mobile shopping program, called Just for U, in the company’s Oregon and Washington divisions. The program, which delivers targeted savings directly to a customer’s Safeway Club Card, can be accessed through the new Safeway Mobile App for iPhone or Android.

Just for U organizes and personalizes the shopping experience by what is most important to each shopper. Deals are offered on items a shopper most frequently buys, as well as items they might be interested in – providing savings of up to 10% to 20% more than by using a Safeway Club Card alone.

“Gone are the days where shoppers have to clip coupons, browse through ads or promotional flyers, or bring a handwritten shopping list to the store. With Just for U, Pacific Northwest Safeway shoppers are able to easily save time and money,” said Steve Frisby, president of Safeway’s Portland and Seattle Divisions. “Shoppers can now download personalized savings just for them right to their Safeway Club Card and compile a customized shopping list online or while on-the-go using their mobile smart phone.”

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News

Weak video game market hits GameStop in Q1

BY CSA STAFF

GRAPEVINE, Texas — Decreased demand for new video game hardware and software contributed to GameStop’s 12.2% sales decline in global sales during the first quarter of 2012. Total global sales for the first quarter of 2012 were $2 billion compared with $2.28 billion in the prior year quarter, a decrease of 12.2%. As announced last week, consolidated comparable-store sales decreased 12.5% compared to the prior year quarter.

Paul Raines, CEO, stated, “GameStop continues to outperform the market in new game sales through the late stages of this console cycle. Despite slower store traffic during the quarter, we achieved our earnings target due primarily to gross margin expansion and positive profit contributions from our pre-owned, mobile and digital businesses. We expect those segments to fill the profitability gap as we transition to the new console cycle.”

During the quarter, sales in the pre-owned and ther categories were down slightly, while sales in new hardware and software declined more than expected. Digital receipts, which are included in the other category, increased 23% over the first quarter of 2011. Mobile sales, also included in the other category, were $12 million, on plan to reach the company’s goal for mobile sales of $150 to $200 million in 2012.

GameStop’s net earnings for the first quarter were $72.5 million compared to net earnings of $80.4 million in the prior year quarter. As announced last week, diluted earnings per share were 54 cents, compared to diluted earnings per share of 56 cents in the prior year quarter.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2012, GameStop expects comparable-store sales to range from down 11% to down 5%. Diluted earnings per share are expected to range from 10 centsto 18 cents.

The company maintains its previously announced full year diluted earnings per share guidance range of $3.10 to $3.30. Full year comparable store sales are expected to range from down 5% to flat.

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FINANCE

Loft sales help lift Ann Inc. profit 5%; 65 stores on tap for fiscal 2012

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Ann Inc.’s fiscal first-quarter net income increased a better-than-expected 5%, boosted by growing sales at its Loft division. The chain, which also operates Ann Taylor, said Friday that it earned $28.7 million in the three months through April 28, up from $27.3 million a year earlier.

“By brand, Loft once again delivered a phenomenal quarter, continuing its strong momentum across all channels. Clients responded positively to Loft’s entire product offering, its compelling value proposition and engaging in-store experience, all of which contributed to very strong conversion,” said Ann president and CEO Kay Krill.

Revenue grew 7% to $560.4 million, matching Wall Street estimates, from $523.6 million. Same-store sales rose 3.8%.

Same-store sales rose 11.3% at Loft stores, outlets and the brand’s website. But they were down 6.9% at Ann Taylor, where revenue slid 15.5%. The company said fewer promotions at its Ann Taylor stores cut into sales.

At the end of the quarter, Ann had 947 stores. The company said it expects to open 65 stores this year, but it plans to downsize Ann Taylor stores and close 30 locations. It expects to have approximately 985 stores at fiscal year-end.

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