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Specialty apparel giant cuts outlook on poor holiday

BY Marianne Wilson

Ascena Retail Group Inc. cut its earnings outlook as poor sales moved it into a highly promotional stance during the holiday period.

The operator of Ann Taylor, Loft, Dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Maurices and Catherines said total same-same sales declined 3.1% during the November/December period.

Same-store sales were down across all Ascena’s banners with the exception of its kids fashion segment (includes the Justice chain) which posted a 2.7% increase. Ann Taylor saw the biggest decline, with an 8.2% drop in same-store sales.

“We were disappointed by our overall holiday performance,” said David Jaffe, president and CEO. “Outside of discrete peaks during the holiday season, we experienced stronger than expected store traffic headwinds. As a result, we were forced into a more highly promotional stance in order to move through inventory in the face of softer overall consumer demand. At this juncture, we are positioning our full year outlook assuming that the trend we experienced through holiday continues.

Ascena said it now expects fiscal 2017 non-GAAP EPs to be in the range of $0.37 to $0.42 for the 52-week period ending July 29, 2017. That compares to a prior forecast for non-GAAP EPS to be in the range of $0.60 to $0.65 and it incorporates the company's revised fiscal second quarter guidance, which calls for a non-GAAP loss of $0.08 to $0.11 per share versus its prior guidance of breakeven to a loss of $0.05 per share.

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Petco kicks off new year with store remodels

BY Marianne Wilson

In keeping with its fast-paced growth, Petco is starting the new year by celebrating the grand re-opening of 14 remodeled stores in Los Angeles.

Last year, Petco expanded its retail presence nationwide by opening 71 new stores and one new Unleashed by Petco store, remodeling 41 stores and expanding five stores.

Fourteen Petco stores will celebrate grand re-openings on Jan. 13-15.

Petco operates more than 1,500 Petco and Unleashed by Petco locations across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico.

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First-of-its-kind store for Bed, Bath & Beyond

BY Marianne Wilson

Bed, Bath & Beyond is debuting a new store format — complete with a food hall — in Brooklyn, New York.

Located in the Sunset Park neighborhood, the new store (called "Beyond at Liberty View") in unique for the retailer in that it houses four of its brands under one roof: Bed Bath & Beyond, Face Values, buybuy Baby and Cost Plus World Market.

In other unique features, the space boasts a food hall-style dining experience, The Bay Market Kitchen, which serves casual American cuisine and locally brewed craft beer, wine and more.

In addition to the restaurant, there are seasonal market food pods on the second floor. An event space, named 71 at Beyond, will offer cooking classes, product demonstrations, food sampling, kid-friendly activities, and more.

The store was designed to offer a high level of customer service, along with expanded offerings, in-store experts, and more differentiated product, services and solutions. Digital tools are available assist customers in providing a seamless and personalized shopping experience, including interactive shopping tools to find the item to fit a specific need.

The venue also features a dedicated area called "The Beyond Room," for customers to work with the company's in-house experts for concierge services, such as personal shopping, registry and soon-to-come, decorating services.

"We are thrilled to open Beyond at Liberty View in the thriving and dynamic Sunset Park community and offer our customers a unique shopping destination featuring a broad assortment of products and outstanding customer service that is common to all of our brands," said Barry Feld, CEO of Cost Plus World Market, who helped spearhead the project on behalf of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.

Bed Bath & Beyond is supporting the local design community and offering a "Born in Brooklyn" section inside the store, presenting Brooklyn-based designers and their products in a format that is exclusive to the Sunset Park location.

The store also features a drapery design gallery for custom window treatments and a technology shop that includes products that provide 'the connected home' experience. The store also includes concierge, personal shopping, registry, and home delivery services.

The Face Values space features a selection of approximately 20,000 items from the cosmetics, health and beauty categories, along with beauty advisors and makeup stations in-store. Customers can also make an appointment (or walk in) for a hair blow out at the Blow In Blow Out Bar.

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