FINANCE

Sears Hometown Q1 profit falls 27%

BY Staff Writer

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. reported a 27% drop in first-quarter earnings amid a cool spring throughout much of the country and rising costs. But the company, a spinoff from Sears Holdings Corp., pointed to improving signs in late spring.

Sears Hometown earned $15 million in the quarter that ended May 4, compared with $20.6 million in the year ago period.

Revenue dropped 3% to $601.1 million. Same-store sales fell 5%.

Bruce Johnson, CEO and president, said, "Sales were below last year due to the impact of unseasonably cool weather in February and March. Same store sales of lawn and garden, our second largest category, were down 45% in the first two months. We were pleased with the improvement during the latter portion of the quarter. With generally more moderate temperatures in April, same store sales for the category during that month were up 4.2%.”

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FINANCE

NRF: Father’s Day spending to rise slightly

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Americans will spend a little bit more on dad this year, stretching their budgets enough to show their favorite man just how much he is appreciated, according to a survey by the National Retail Foundation.

The group, 2013 Father’s Day spending survey, conducted by BIGinsight, found that the average consumer will shell out $119.84 on dad’s gifts this year, up from $117.14 last year. Total spending for Father’s Day is expected to reach $13.3 billion.

According to the survey, those celebrating Father’s Day will spend $2.5 billion on a special outing, $1.7 billion on a new electronic gadget, and $1.8 billion on clothing.

Dad can also expect plenty of gift cards; families will shell out $1.8 billion on the perfect practical gift. Others will splurge on home improvement and gardening tools ($755 million), sporting goods ($710 million), personal care items ($707 million), and even automotive accessories ($592 million).

Department stores remain the preferred shopping location for gift buyers: four-in-10 (40.6%) will look for dad’s gift there. Others will shop at discount stores (31.5%), specialty stores including greeting card/gift and electronics stores (27.3%), and specialty clothing stores (9.9%). Online retailers will see a slight increase in traffic this year; 29.8% will shop online, up from 28.4% last year.

On the digital front, two-in-five (20.3%) of those who own a tablet plan to use their tablet to make a Father’s Day purchase. Overall, more than half (51.1%) of tablet owners will use their device to research products and compare prices, redeem coupons and look up retailers’ information such as store hours and location. Four-in-10 (42.6%) smartphone owners will use their mobile device to research the perfect gift idea and compare prices and look up store information.

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Christopher & Banks has ‘strong’ Q1

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — Christopher & Banks, a specialty women’s apparel retailer, reported a same-store sales increase of 23% for the 13-week period ended May 4, 2013, as compared to the 13 weeks ended May 5, 2012.

The company’s net sales totaled $109 million, a 16% increase from $94 million for the 13 weeks ended April 28, 2012. During the quarter, the company operated an average of 10.5% fewer stores than during the comparable period last year.

“We are pleased with our strong start to fiscal 2013 as we continue to win customers over with a merchandise assortment that appeals to her tastes as well as her sense of value,” said president and CEO LuAnn Via. “In addition, our marketing programs have garnered a highly favorable response and created excitement in our stores. As we continue to gain traction with our strategic initiatives, we believe we are well-positioned to drive sustainable long term growth and profitability.”

Christopher & Banks Corporation is a Minneapolis-based specialty retailer of women’s clothing. As of June 7, the company operates 602 stores in 44 states consisting of 377 Christopher & Banks stores, 155 stores in its women’s plus size clothing division CJ Banks, 44 MPW stores and 26 outlet stores. The company also operates two e-commerce sites.

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