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Stage Stores Q4 profit down 30%; selling Steele’s division

BY Dan Berthiaume

Houston – Stage Stores’ fiscal fourth-quarter net income plunged 30%, stung by a charge tied to the sale of its Steele’s off-price division and softer revenue. Its adjusted earnings, however, topped analysts’ estimates.

Stage Stores announced that it is selling its off-price retail division Steele’s to Hilco Global Retail Group in an equity deal.

For the quarter ended Feb. 1, Stage Stores earned $24.9 million, down from $35.8 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue fell 5% to $499.4 million from $527.9 million in the year-ago period, which included an extra week of sales. Same-store sales fell 1.1%.

For the year, Stage Stores earned $16.6 million, compared with $38.2 million, in the previous year.

Annual revenue declined 1% to $1.63 billion, from $1.65 billion. Excluding Steele’s, revenue totaled $1.61 billion.

In addition to the extra week in the prior fiscal year, Stage Stores also attributed declining earnings to consolidation of the company’s South Hill, Va., operations into its Houston headquarters and an impairment charge related to Steele’s.

“Stage Stores had many accomplishments in 2013 that will contribute to our future profitability and growth,” said Michael Glazer, president and CEO. “In addition to our many accomplishments, we also increased our quarterly dividend rate by 25%, continuing with our long tradition of returning capital to our shareholders.”

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Abercrombie & Fitch settles overtime suit

BY Dan Berthiaume

New Albany, Ohio — Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. have offered to pay about $4,000 to one assistant manager for failing to pay proper overtime wages from May 16, 2010 to present, in connection with a lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York. Abercrombie agreed to pay the assistant manager’s attorney’s fees and court costs to be determined by the court.

The claims arose under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and asserted that Abercrombie violated the FLSA by failing to pay Assistant Managers all wages due and owing to them for working more than 40 hours a week. Abercrombie did not pay overtime to the assistant manager at time and one-half, and Plaintiffs alleged that its practice violated the law.

Abercrombie said that the amount offered to the assistant manager includes all overtime wages owed plus liquidated (double) damages, and interest. The full number of Abercrombie assistant managers who were subject to Abercrombie’s pay practice is not known.

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NCR releases iPad POS solution with loyalty feature

BY Dan Berthiaume

Duluth, Ga. – NCR has released the NCR Silver subscription-based iPad POS solution aimed at helping small businesses create, run and manage reward programs. Loyalty complements the existing automated email and social marketing functionality in NCR Silver, making it even easier for cafés, shops, restaurants, boutiques, food trucks, and any small business to reward customers for repeat purchases.

Loyalty fits seamlessly into the checkout process, automatically tracking rewards with each sale so customers see exactly what they have earned and eliminating the need for paper punch cards. Rewards and customer information reside on the NCR Silver POS system and merchants retain all the data rather than share it through a third-party loyalty application.

“Satisfying your best customers is critical to the success of every small business,” said Justin Hotard, general manager, NCR Silver. “We added loyalty to go along with email marketing, customer history, and reporting to make NCR Silver the perfect fit to grow any small business.”

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