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Sears’ loss widens as sales soften at Kmart, Sears

BY Marianne Wilson

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings widened its loss in the third quarter as sales decreased at both its Sears and Kmart units.

For the three months ended Nov. 2, Sears lost $534 million, down from a loss of $498 million a year earlier.

Revenue fell 7% to $8.27 billion from $8.86 billion mostly because it had fewer Sears and Kmart stores operating.

Same-store sales dropped 3.1%, and were down 4% at Sears’ stores and declined 2.1% at Kmart stores.

The retailer is in the midst of trying to transform its business, with less emphasis on brick-and-mortar stores. The chain is playing up its Shop Your Way Loyalty (SWY) program, with enhanced membership benefits. Sears is also working on developing digital and social relationships with members.

"We are transitioning from a business that has historically focused on running a store network into a business that provides and delivers value by serving its members in the manner most convenient for them: whether in store, in home or through digital devices," said Edward S. Lampert, Sears Holdings’ chairman and CEO. "We are driving this transformation by investing in capabilities to enable members access to the broadest possible assortment of products and services, enhancing our membership benefits associated with SYW, developing digital and social relationships with our members, using data and analytics to make targeted offers and decisions delivered in real time and expanding our reach through Marketplace and delivery options."

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J.Shaughness says:
Nov-22-2013 12:18 pm

Dead chains walking.

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Williams Sonoma Q3 profit up 16%; raises full-year view

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s on Thursday reported that its third-quarter profit rose a better-then-expected 16% as same-store sales increased across all its brands. The company also raised its full-year view.

“We believe we are well-positioned heading into the holiday season and will continue to execute our key strategies to deliver an exceptional experience for our customers. We are focused on generating top-line results in conjunction with operational and capital discipline to deliver long-term shareholder value,” said president and CEO Laura Alber.

For the quarter ended Nov. 3, Williams-Sonoma posted a profit of $56.7 million, up from $48.9 million.

Revenue rose 11% to $1.05 billion. Total same-store sales rose 8.2%.

At West Elm, same-store sales jumped 22%. Pottery Barn’s same-store sales were up 8.4%, while Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen increased 3.9% and 17%, respectively. At the company’s namesake stores, sales were up 1.4%.

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Survey: Gift cards drive store traffic

BY Marianne Wilson

Oklahoma City — Seventy-four percent of shoppers plan to give one or more gift cards this holiday season, and nearly 30% planned on giving five or more gift cards, according to a study by the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA). The results show that gift cards drive store traffic, with 78% of consumers planning to spend their cards at the retailer’s brick-and-mortar location

The Holiday Gift Card Trend Tracker Survey finds that the number of gift cards consumers plan to purchase as gifts this year increased by 71%.

"This survey shows ways that retailers can compete for savvy consumer dollars by adding holiday promotions and offering online and mobile gift card options such as e-gift codes,” said Jennifer Tramontana, spokesperson for the Retail Gift Card Association.

Additional key insights from the survey include:

Restaurants and department stores will benefit most from gift card promotion this holiday: Consumers are most likely to give cards from these types of retailers (57% plan on giving a restaurant gift card this year), and they most want to receive cards from these businesses as well (60% hope for a department store gift card).

Convenience and practicality drive the decision to give gift cards: 79% of consumers give gift cards because they know the recipient can purchase what they want, and 70% give them for convenience.

Consumers are embracing more online and mobile options: 56% plan to stay home and shop on cyber Monday, and 83% like the option to send physical gift cards or e-codes.

Promotions drive gift cards sales: 17% of consumers wait for a promotion before buying a gift card, and 23% almost always look for promotions at competing retailers before deciding where to buy a gift card.


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