FINANCE

Staples swings to loss in Q3, beats estimates

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Framingham, Mass. — Staples Inc. reported Wednesday a loss of $596.3 million for the third quarter, compared with a profit of $326.4 million a year earlier. Without restructuring costs, the office supply retailer generated a profit that just edged Wall Street expectations.

Sales for the quarter dropped 2% to $6.35 billion, missing analysts’ expected $6.45 billion in sales.

In September, Staples outlined plans to close 30 stores in North America and 45 stores in Europe, and incurred impairment and restructuring charges of about $840 million in the third quarter.

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FINANCE

Abercrombie and Fitch profit surges in Q3, raises outlook

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Columbus, Ohio — Abercrombie and Fitch reported Wednesday net income of $71.5 million for the third quarter, compared with $50.9 million in the year-ago period and beating Wall Street expectations. The retailer is forecasting annual earnings above analysts’ estimates.

Revenue rose 9% to $1.17 billion, boosted by a 37% rise in international sales. Same-store sales dipped 3%.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Retail imports to increase 5.9% in November despite superstorm

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — A report released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates said that import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 5.9% in November despite the temporary closure of some ports by superstorm Sandy.

According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report, U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.42 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in September, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was the same as August but up 3.3% from September 2011. One TEU is one 20-ft. cargo container or its equivalent.



“Sandy certainly caused major problems that are still being cleaned up, but retailers managed to get their cargo into the country and will have plenty of merchandise on store shelves for the holidays,” NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “While there was clearly a regional impact, at this point the storm is not expected to have a major effect on holiday sales numbers.”

October was estimated at 1.46 million TEU, up 10.7% from last year, with November forecast at 1.37 million TEU, up 5.9%, and December forecast at 1.34 million TEU, up 9.4%. January is forecast at 1.39 million TEU, up 8.2% from January 2012; February at 1.22 million TEU, up 12%; and March at 1.26 million TEU, up 1.6%.

August, September and October are the three busiest months of the year as retailers bring merchandise into the country for the holiday season, and volume for the three months combined was up 5.8% at 4.3 million TEU. While cargo volume does not correlate directly with sales, NRF is forecasting that holiday sales will increase 4.1% to $586.1 billion this year.

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