Sears Profil Falls 47%
Hoffman Estates, Ill. Sears Holdings Corp. Thursday said fourth-quarter profit tumbled 47%, due to poor performance at its Kmart and U.S. Sears stores.
The company said earnings dropped to $426 million from $811 million a year ago. Revenue slipped to $15.07 billion from $16.18 billion.
The performance was in line with Wall Street forecasts after the ailing company warned last month that eroding sales might push its profit down as much as 57%. Sears Holdings, which is searching for a chief executive and seeking to reorganize its operations, warned in mid-January that quarterly profit would decline.
“Given the challenging retail environment, we will work to improve and tighten management of costs and inventory levels in 2008,” said W. Bruce Johnson, Sears Holdings’ interim CEO and president.
Zale to cut jobs in effort to improve profitability
DALLAS Zale today announced initiatives — including the elimination of 225 filled and open headquarter positions — designed to improve profitability and overall effectiveness. The company said the efforts are expected to generate more than $65 million in annualized savings beginning in its fourth quarter.
Other elements of the program include a reduction of planned capital spending from an expected $85 million in fiscal 2008 to approximately $45 million in fiscal 2009 and the closure of an additional 23 underperforming locations, bringing the total number of planned store closures to approximately 105 in fiscal 2008.
Zale said it anticipates the total program cost, including severance-related benefits, of less than $4 million pre-tax, will be incurred largely in the company’s fiscal third quarter ending April 30.
Zale president and ceo Neal Goldberg said, “In order to improve Zale’s overall performance and provide our value-oriented customer with an exceptional experience, it is essential that we reduce the company’s infrastructure costs, which have outpaced its sales growth since 2002. The program we are announcing today follows an extensive review, and will enhance our operational effectiveness significantly. It builds upon steps we have already taken to reduce redundancies, simplify processes and create a more agile company, such as the realignment of our merchandise and sourcing organizations.”
Winn-Dixie sells off dairies
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Winn-Dixie Stores today announced that it plans to sell its two dairies to Southeast Milk, a Florida-based cooperative of more than 300 family-owned dairy farms. The dairies are located in Plant City, Fla. and Hammond, La.
According to the company, the dairies will remain in full production and Winn-Dixie associates working in the plants will become employees of SMI at the close of the sale.
Winn-Dixie President, ceo and chairman of the board, Peter Lynch said, “We have concluded that the sale of our dairies is in the company’s best interest as we continue to sharpen our focus on the retail operation of our business. We are pleased that SMI recognizes the value of our dairies and the associates who work there, and we look forward to a successful partnership.”
Upon completion of this transaction, Winn-Dixie will operate one manufacturing plant — its private label Chek Cola plant located in Fitzgerald, Ga.