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Shoe Carnival profit dips in Q4; to open 30 stores in 2012

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Evansville, Ind. — Shoe Carnival reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended Jan. 28 dipped to $3.3 million, from $4.4 million. Sales edged up 1.1% to $181.9 million in the quarter, and same-store sales dropped 3%.

President and CEO Mark Lemond told investors that heavy promotional activities to rid the chain of cold-weather footwear after an unseasonably warm winter had a negative impact on margins.

For the full year, the chain experienced a slight profit dip, to $26.4 million from $26.8 million in 2010. Sales increased 3.2% to $762.5 million and same-store sales increased 0.7%.

On tap for 2012 are 30 new stores, about a third of them new-market debuts in Dallas/Fort Worth and Puerto Rico. Ten stores are slated for relocation and five will be closed.

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Wal-Mart penalized $2.1 million for overcharging California customers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bentonville, Ark. — A state attorney for California said Wednesday that Wal-Mart has agreed to pay a $2.1 million penalty for overcharging customers in the state.

Wal-Mart is being penalized for charging prices higher than those posted, violating a 2008 judgment for it to halt the overcharging.

A lengthy investigation revealed that Walmart stores in 11 California counties made checkout scanning errors that left customers paying more than the listed prices. The investigation, which launched in November 2010, was a follow-up to the 2008 judgment, in which 164 stores in 30 counties were found to have overcharged customers.

As a result of the latest judgment, Wal-Mart will be required to post signs describing the policy in English and Spanish at every checkout counter in all 180 of its California stores, and the company will designate a person at every store to ensure pricing accuracy.

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Neiman Marcus invests in Chinese e-commerce company

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — The Neiman Marcus Group said Thursday that it will invest $28 million in Glamour Sales Holding, a Shanghai-based e-commerce company, as part of its strategy to gain a foothold in the Asian e-commerce marketplace.

“We are taking this bold step to establish Neiman Marcus Group as an international brand,” said Karen Katz, president and CEO, Neiman Marcus Group.

Through Glamour Sales Holding, Neiman Marcus Group said it will launch an e-commerce website by the end of 2012. The site will feature a mix of full-price, current-season offerings to reflect Chinese luxury customer preferences.

The two companies will combine talent to create a new team in China who will oversee the development, launch and management of the new website.

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