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S&P upgrades Jo-Ann Stores to ‘BB-‘

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services boosted its rating on Jo-Ann Stores Friday, saying the retailer’s business continues to hold steady despite the nation’s down economy.

An analyst boosted its rating on the chain to “BB-” from “B+.” The rating remains in junk territory. The company’s outlook is “Stable.”

“The upgrade reflects our view that operating results have been quite stable despite the recession, a difficult retail environment, and more cautious discretionary spending by consumers,” the analyst wrote in a research to investors. “We believe that Jo-Ann Stores can maintain the current operating trends and that credit protection measures will remain well-supportive of the rating.”

Last month, the company said its first-quarter net income more than doubled as its sales and margins improved.

The chain earned $18.2 million for the quarter that ended May 1 as revenue grew 4.4% to $480.3 million.

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Manhattan’s New Retail Stars

BY Marianne Wilson

From imports to home-grown players, the spring and early summer has brought an influx of new store openings in the Big Apple. Here’s a look at the most talked-about:

• AllSaints Spitalfields: The trendy (and a bit pricey) British import (70 stores and counting) sells rock ‘n’ roll-inspired threads for men, woman and children. The vibe here is edgy and just a little bit Goth, and some of the clothing has a distinct worn-in look. The store itself features bare brick and wood, with a front window filled with vintage sewing machines. (512 Broadway)

• Miss Hoe: Whimsical and fanciful, Miss Hoe trades in uniquely stylish apparel (some of which looks like it could float) and all manner of fun trinkets. The space itself is an unexpected delight, from the candy-colored armoires to the tree branch clothing racks. It’s also my personal favorite of the summer’s new entries. (2 Prince St.)

• J. Crew Bridal: Featuring a Parisian salon-inspired design, J. Crew Bridal is elegantly outfitted. The first floor is devoted to cocktail dresses and accessories, with a by-appointment bridal showroom and four suites on the second. (769 Madison Ave.)

• JNBY: With some 50 stores worldwide, the China-based label is a collective of 12 designers who all attended the same school in Shanghai. (75 Greene St.)

• Limelight Marketplace: An extensive renovation has transformed one of Manhattan’s neo-Gothic landmarks — whose former tenants included a church and a legendary nightclub — into a hipster mall of sorts. The 20,000-sq.-ft., multi-level space boasts some 60 tenants, a mix of indie brands and power players, housed in a variety of shops, booths, kiosks. A food court is divided into the Sweet Room (where tenants sell cakes, cupcakes and chocolates) and the specialty food section (shops, cafes and food concessions. (656 Avenue of the Americas)

• United Nude: The avant-garde Dutch footwear brand specializes in high-tech materials and unorthodox designs. The pricey goods are displayed like works of art. ( (25 Bond St.)

• WHO.A.U.: A fast-fashion import from South Korean, WHO.A.U. specializes in California (think Hollister)-inspired sportswear for teens. The brand is owned by E.Land Group, which sells clothing under nearly 100 labels in China and South Korea. This is the company’s third U.S. store to date. (22 W. 34th St.)

• Coach Men’s: The brand’s very first freestanding men’s location, this 550-sq.-ft. shop boasts a range of small leather goods, biz/travel accessories, loafers, watches, and other items. About 30% of the mix is exclusive to the location. Coach is looking at the store as a prototype for other men’s stores. (370 Bleecker St.)

• Nordstrom Rack: The upscale department store retailer has high hopes for its first-ever store in the Big Apple. In a first for Nordstrom, a large television screen automatically directs a single line of customers to one of 19 cash registers. (60 E. 14th St.)

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Bed Bath & Beyond sees 53% EPS growth

BY CSA STAFF

UNION, N.J. Bed Bath & Beyond reported net earnings of 52 cents per diluted share ($137.6 million) in the fiscal first quarter ended May 29, an increase of approximately 53% versus net earnings of 34 cents per diluted share ($87.2 million) in the same quarter a year ago.

Net sales for the fiscal first quarter of 2010 were approximately $1.923 billion, an increase of approximately 13.5% from net sales of approximately $1.694 billion reported in the fiscal first quarter of 2009.  Comparable-store sales in the fiscal first quarter of 2010 increased by approximately 8.4%, compared with a decrease of approximately 1.6% in last year’s fiscal first quarter.

For the fiscal second quarter of 2010, the company said it is modeling net earnings per diluted share to be approximately 59 cents to 63 cents.  For fiscal 2010, the company said it is modeling net earnings per diluted share to increase by approximately 15%. 

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