FINANCE

Starbucks Q4 profit up 34%; 1,500 net new stores on tap

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Starbucks Coffee Company on Wednesday reported a better-then-expected 34% rise in its fiscal fourth-quarter and raised its quarterly dividend 24%. The company earned $481.1 million, up from $359 million a year ago.

Total net revenues increased 13% to $3.8 billion, just short of expectations.

Global same-store sales increased 7%, driven by a 5% increase in traffic. Same-store sales were up 8% in the United States and the Americas and 8% in China/Asia Pacific region.

Capping off a strong year of international expansion, the company opened 558 net new stores in the quarter, including the 1,000th store in both China and Japan.

“The fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 capped off by far the best year in Starbucks 42-year-history,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company. “Our results were driven by disciplined, ongoing efforts to elevate the value and relevance of the Starbucks brand, continued innovation and the success of our efforts to deepen our connection to customers and communities around the world.”

For the year, Starbucks’ total net revenues increased 12% to $14.9 billion. Global comp-store sales grew 7%, driven by a 5% increase in traffic. Same-store sales rose 7% in the Americas.

Starbucks opened 1,701 net new stores in the year, ending fiscal 2013 with 19,767 stores globally.

Looking ahead, the company said it expects 1,500 net new stores in fiscal 2014, including some 600 in the Americas.

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Good customer service equals customer loyalty and glad tidings for retailers

BY CSA STAFF

PriceGrabber, a leading distributed e-commerce platform and shopping site, conducted its Winter Holiday Shopping Survey and found that 69% of consumers plan to shop at the same retailers at which they shopped last year.

When asked why, 70% of the respondents said they would remain loyal to certain retailers because of good customer service. According to the survey, online retailers and discount stores continue to remain the most popular destinations for holiday shopping. When asked to select all the types of stores where consumers plan to shop for gifts, 75% chose online retailers and 68% said they would visit discount stores. Conducted on PriceGrabber.com from Sept. 13-25, the survey includes responses from 2,887 U.S. online shopping consumers.

It can be the busiest time of the year, and shoppers are looking for convenience when choosing where to shop for gifts. Free shipping was the second reason consumers said they plan to return to their go-to retailers this year, at 62%. Meanwhile, 55% said they like the convenience of shopping online with an easy checkout process, and 40% will return to stores located in close proximity to their home.

“As shoppers are looking for convenience and excellent customer service, retailers are aiming to drive shoppers’ wallet share with strong incentives like free shipping, coupons and aggressive price cuts,” said James Brown, VP of sales of PriceGrabber. “According to the survey, most consumers plan to research their holiday gift purchases in advance. Retailers will need to communicate their deals to the online consumer before they start their shopping or they risk losing customers.”

Despite what may be on everyone’s holiday wish list, consumers can bet on receiving clothing again this year. When PriceGrabber respondents were asked to select the items they are most likely to purchase for a gift this season, clothing topped the list at 64%. Gift cards ranked second at 47%, while 37% opted for books, DVDs or games. Good news for good boys and girls: of those surveyed, 35% of shoppers said they will be purchasing toys this holiday season. From 2012 to 2013, shoppers are aiming to maintain a similar budget as last year, with 54% of consumers indicating they plan to spend $500 or more this season. Shoppers plan to do their homework this year, with 88% saying they will research their holiday gift purchases in advance to find the best deals.

The official start of the holiday shopping season traditionally kicks off Black Friday (Nov. 29). According to the survey, 33% of survey respondents believe the best deals will be available after the Thanksgiving holiday. Meanwhile 28% believe the best deals will be specifically on Black Friday. Additionally, of those surveyed, 24% think the month of December will offer the best deals and 15% of shoppers felt that Cyber Monday (Dec. 2) would yield the best bargains.

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The Children’s Place selects GT Nexus platform to support business growth

BY Marianne Wilson

Oakland, Calif. — GT Nexus announced that The Children’s Place, the largest pure-play children’s specialty apparel retailer in North America, has selected its technology platform and services to enable its global supply chain and support business growth. The cloud-based platform will help Children’s Place, which operates 1,116 stores and an online store, automate and streamline ordering, manufacturing and transportation processes.

“By acquiring the GT Nexus Platform, The Children’s Place is equipping its supply chain to be more responsive, efficient and customer centric,” said Sean Feeney, CEO of GT Nexus. “Using GT Nexus, The Children’s Place will have an opportunity to enhance its supply chain to deliver high quality, low cost, trend-right merchandise quickly and efficiently through each channel.”

The Children’s Place will deploy GT Nexus to automate and streamline processes in the following areas:

  • Order collaboration
  • Factory management
  • Supply chain visibility
  • Transportation management
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