REAL ESTATE

Sears planning to close more stores going forward

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — There are more store closings in Sears’ future. In an address at Sears Holding Corp.’s annual shareholders meeting, chairman and CEO Edward Lampert said the company would close stores and look for ways to leverage its real estate as it continues to focus on integrated omnichannel retail and its Shop Your Way rewards program.

"Closing stores is going to be part of our future," Lampert said. "I’d rather do (fewer closures) rather than more, but the world has shifted."

He did not give an estimate on how many stores Sears would close. But with regards to marginally performing stores, Lampert said "the decision more often than not is to not renew the lease."

"We think you don’t need 2,000 stores to be relevant in the United States," he said.

Lampert said that rental income from subleasing store space in Sears stores to other retailers is likely to increase going forward. Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and has spun off its Orchard Supply Hardware, Sears Hometown and Lands’ End businesses. The company currently operates approximately 778 full-line namesake stores and 1,152 Kmart stores in the United States.

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FINANCE

Catalog sales contribute to Body Central Q1 net loss

BY Dan Berthiaume

Jacksonville, Fla. – Body Central swung to a net loss of $9.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 from net income of $2.7 million a year earlier. Net revenues decreased 26.6% to $59.7 million, compared to $81.4 million for the first quarter of 2013, and same-store sales fell 26.8%.

Body Central attributed part of the net loss to the unprofitability of its catalog business, which has become less important to customers as the company’s direct sales business transitions to e-commerce. The retailer will evaluate the merits of its catalog business for the remainder of the fiscal year. Body Central also cited sales challenges in tops and dresses.

“We continue to monitor inventory levels closely while refining assortments and messaging that can stimulate traffic and sales,” said Brian Woolf, CEO Body Central. “We remain focused that taking these steps will improve the customer experience in both our stores and e-commerce businesses, and ultimately improve our financial performance."

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REAL ESTATE

Citizen Watch to open Times Square flagship store

BY Dan Berthiaume

Lyndhurst, N.J. — Citizen Watch Company, a leader in the mid-priced watch segment, will will a global flagship store in Times Square, New York, on Broadway in November. This will be the first Citizen Watch global retail concept store in North America.

The store will measure more than 1,300 sq. ft. and offer the full Citizen product assortment. Citizen has hired New York based architectural firm Mapos LLC.

"As a truly global brand Citizen Watch Company represents people from throughout the world, so there is no better place than Times Square to share our international brand message," said Toshio Tokura, president and CEO of Citizen Watch Co. Ltd.

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