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Stein Mart accelerates business planning with Microsoft

BY CSA STAFF

Redmond, Wash. — Stein Mart announced the selection of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 as the centerpiece of its new Mission Critical platform and subsequent business intelligence solution. As a result, company executives can use responsive forecasting tools, which have enabled them to quickly identify business trends within the company’s 265 stores and to position the company for expansion.

"We had significant latency issues with our previous business intelligence solution. Having immediate access to sales figures, fluctuations in inventory and other data is critical for executive planning sessions," said Ilan Wajsman, director of IT for Stein Mart. "Not having that data would hinder the executives’ ability to make the decisions that drive Stein Mart’s growth."

Data processing frequently took more than 14 hours with the previous solution, but with its move to SQL Server 2008 Enterprise, SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services and SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, Stein Mart can now produce sales reports in as few as three hours. Stein Mart’s data warehouse is now approximately four terabytes, compressed. In the company’s previous, uncompressed data warehouse system, that would have been approximately 12 terabytes. And the power of new analysis tools will provide executives with greater business insight while saving the company $50,000 each month in hardware leasing and maintenance costs.

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News

New CEO named at Charming Shoppes

BY CSA STAFF

BENSALEM, Pa. — Charming Shoppes has announced the appointment of Anthony Romano as the company’s president and CEO and a member of the company’s board of directors, and the appointment of Brian Woolf as group president Lane Bryant, effective immediately.

Michael Goldstein, chairman of the board of directors of Charming Shoppes commented, "We are extremely pleased to announce Tony’s appointment as the president and CEO of Charming Shoppes and as a member of the board of directors. Tony joined the company in February 2009 as our EVP global sourcing and business transformation and was promoted to the position of COO of the company in October 2010. Since then, he has also served as an acting chief executive officer assuming responsibility for the overall operations of the company. Over the last several months, we have conducted a broad CEO candidate search, including both external and internal candidates. Tony’s extensive experience managing and working in the many facets of apparel retail operations, and especially his knowledge and familiarity with Charming Shoppes in its current business turnaround mode were key considerations in his appointment. We are delighted to have a person of Tony’s caliber as our president and CEO."

Prior to serving as COO and EVP global sourcing and business transformation at Charming Shoppes, Romano served as EVP, chief supply chain officer for Ann Taylor from May 2005 through July 2008; as EVP corporate operations for Ann Taylor from March 2004 through May 2005; and as SVP global logistics for Ann Taylor from June 1997 through March 2004. Romano had previously spent eight years at Charming Shoppes in a variety of operational and financial roles before joining Ann Taylor in 1997. He started his career as a certified public accountant with the predecessor firm to Ernst & Young.

Woolf has served as the president of the company’s Lane Bryant and Cacique brands since July 2008. Prior to joining Lane Bryant, he was chairman and CEO of Cache for eight years. Previous to Cache, he served in various retail-industry management and merchandising positions for nearly three decades at a number of well-known retailers including Limited Stores, Lazarus, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s.

The company also announced a net loss on a GAAP basis of $30.4 million for the quarter ended Jan. 29, compared with a loss of $28 million a year earlier. Total net sales increased 7% to $575.8 million for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 29, compared with $539 million for the prior year period. Same-store sales for the fourth quarter increased 9%, including an 11% increase at Lane Bryant; e-commerce sales increased 41%.

The retailer said it plans to open five to seven new stores in fiscal 2011 and relocate 10 to 13 stores.

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FINANCE

Best Buy Q4 profit declines, adjusted results beat Street

BY CSA STAFF

Minneapolis — Best Buy Co. reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended Feb. 26 fell 16% to $651 million, compared with $779 million in the year-ago period. However, adjusted results beat Wall Street expectations.

The retailer cited restructuring costs and weak TV and other electronics sales for the performance decline.

Revenue dipped 2% to $16.26 billion. In the United States, revenue fell 4% to $12.1 billion, while international revenue rose 4% to $4.1 billion. Same-store sales fell 4.6% during the three months ending Feb. 26, including a 5.5% decline in the United States.

"Overall demand for key consumer electronics products was a challenge for the industry last year," said CEO Brian Dunn in a statement.
Same-store sales decreased 4.6% during the period.

For the full year, net income fell 3% to $1.28 billion, from $1.32 billion a year earlier. Revenue rose 1% to $50.27 billion, from $4.97 billion.

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