FINANCE

Sears down on removal from S&P 500 New York

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Shares of Sears Holdings were under heavy selling pressure Thursday morning, sliding 7% to $53.38 on Standard & Poor’s. S&P plans to remove the chain from its S&P 500 Index because the chain’s public float has has been below the index’s 50% threshold for an extended period of time.

The Sears’ name, in one form or another, has been in the S&P 500 since it was created some 55 years ago. Sears will be removed from the index at the close of trading on Sept. 4. The retailer will be replaced by chemical maker LyondellBasell.

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Kroger fuels up the savings at the pump

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI— Kroger is extending its summer fuel savings program through the fall and holiday seasons. Customers can now earn and redeem fuel points to save up to $2.00 off per gallon at Kroger Family of Stores Fuel Centers through Dec. 31.

"At our customers’ request we are pleased to extend our special offer doubling potential fuel savings up to $2.00 per gallon through the busy fall and holiday shopping seasons," said Michael Donnelly, Kroger’s SVP of merchandising.

Points can be earned and redeemed at most but not all Kroger Family of Stores locations, and restrictions vary by local market.

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Value in vogue for back-to-school

BY CSA STAFF

Ross Stores and The TJX companies both reported a better-than-expected 8% same store sales increase during August.

Shoppers continued to beat a path to Ross and TJX stores during August where exceptionally strong sales suggest consumers are unrelenting in their search for value amid protracted economic weakness.

“We are pleased with August same store sales that were ahead of our expectations,” Ross vice chairman and CEO Michael Balmuth said. “Our ability to deliver a wide array of name brand bargains for back-to-school shoppers drove healthy traffic to our stores during the month. Looking ahead, we continue to forecast same store sales gains of 2% to 3% for September and 3% to 4% for October.”

At TJX, the 8% comp increase came just two weeks after the company reported second quarter results and indicated third quarter comps would increased between 2% and 4%.
“Our strong momentum continued into August and gained as the month progressed, leading to comparable store sales increases that were well ahead of our expectations,” said TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz. “Once again, the strength of our performance was broad based. Customer traffic drove the comp sales increase across our divisions in the U.S., Canada and Europe, which we believe is a great indicator that our value proposition continues to resonate with consumers.”

The strong performance prompted the company to narrow the range of its third quarter earnings forecast. Meyrowitz said the company expects earnings to be toward the upper end of a previously estimated range of 56 cents to 59 cents.

“We believe we are in an excellent position to buy into the terrific opportunities in the marketplace, bringing great brands and fashions at compelling values to our customers,” Meyrowitz said.

TJX ended the month with nearly 3,000 stores, consisting of 1,010 T.J. Maxx, 900 Marshalls and 399 HomeGoods stores in the United States; 222 Winners, 87 HomeSense and 13 Marshalls stores in Canada; and 339 T.K. Maxx and 24 HomeSense stores in Europe.

Ross ended the month with 1,072 Ross Dress for Less stores and 102 dd’s Discounts stores.

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