OPERATIONS

Sears Canada lays off 700 employees

BY Staff Writer

New York — Sears Canada is letting go of 700 workers as part of a plan to "right-size" the operation.

The lay-offs will include 360 department store associates and about 300 distribution center workers, as well as some head office personnel.

Sears Canada, majority-owned by Sears Holdings Corp., has falling sales. It is also facing major competition by Wal-Mart Stores and Target, which is set to make its Canadian debut this spring.

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FINANCE

Harris Teeter Q1 income up 67%; nine new stores on tap

BY Staff Writer

Matthews, N.C. — Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. reported that its fiscal first-quarter net income rose nearly 67%. The company earned $22.8 million for the quarter that ended Jan. 1, up from $13.7 million in the same quarter last year. The prior year’s results included an $18 million cost to settle some pension liabilities and employee benefits in connection with the sale of its industrial thread manufacturing company.

Harris Teeter’s total revenue increased to $1.16 billion from $1.12 billion. Same-store sales rose 2.5%.

Harris Teeter said it plans to open nine new stores during the remainder of its 2013 fiscal year, complete eight major remodels and reopen one store in Washington, D.C. that was damaged by flooding. It operated 211 stores as of Jan. 1.

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REAL ESTATE

Starbucks makes Vietnam debut; sees potential there for ‘hundreds’ of cafes

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Starbucks Coffee Co. on Friday opened its first location in Vietnam, following an expanded long-term relationship with Hong Kong Maxim’s Group.

The two-level flagship store has been designed to reflect Starbucks’ signature coffee heritage, while embracing Vietnam’s distinctive local traditions and coffee culture. It is located the bustling neighborhood of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1.

“The market presents tremendous opportunity for Starbucks over the long term,” said John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific. “Ho Chi Minh City is our first stop and we aim to open our stores in key metropolitan cities across Vietnam, including Hanoi, in the future.”

The chain told Bloomberg that it plans to add hundreds of stores in the Asian nation in the long term.

The design of Starbucks’ Vietnam flagship reflects the vibrance of cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City and still retains the city’s pride for its distinct local heritage. The store features numerous décor items that have been sourced locally, repurposed and given a new life in the first Starbucks store, including the distinctive Starbucks community table, whose teakwood surface was recycled from a local villa, and an old ‘ba gac’ (bicycle), which was traditionally used to transport goods around the city in the past, now stands as a central piece of artwork on the ground floor of the store. The store also showcases wall mural designs created by local artists.

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