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Survey: LLBean.com climbs to top of March online customer service rankings

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – L.L.Bean was ranked number one in online customer service in March 2013. According to monthly benchmark analysis from customer service analysis provider StellaService, LLBean.com showed strength in email and returns, besting all other retailers in those specific service areas.

LLBean.com replied to emails in about 30 minutes on average in March and scored an impressive 97% for issue resolution. As for returns, the retailer issued refunds in about six days. In addition, JCrew.com received top ranking in the phone category, connecting StellaService analysts to a live agent in an average of 39 seconds and scoring 100% for issue resolution. And for the first time, UrbanOutfitters.com was best among all retailers in shipping, delivering in about three days on average.

Looking at combined scores for all four service areas in benchmarks, the following were strongest overall:

Top 10 – March 2014

1. LLBean.com
2. JCrew.com
3. CasualMale.com
4. Zappos.com
5. Fab.com
6. RalphLauren.com
7. SierraTradingPost.com
8. Shopbop.com
9. Net-A-Porter.com
10. Cabelas.com

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Sherwin-Williams net income slips on higher sales in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cleveland – The Sherwin-Williams Company reported a slight drop in net income during the first quarter of fiscal 2014, to $115.46 million from $116.18 million. Net sales fared better, rising 9% to $2.37 billion from $2.17 billion.

Christopher M. Connor, chairman and CEO of Sherwin-Williams, cited strong performance in the paint stores group, with slight offset on domestic sales from severe weather, as helping drive consolidated net sales in the quarter. Sherwin-Williams expects consolidated net sales to rise 8%-14% in the second quarter.

“We are pleased to report record sales and earnings per share from the continued positive sales volume and strong operating results of our paint stores group,” said Connor. “The paint stores group architectural volume growth was strong across all end market segments. The Comex acquisition performed better than expected in the quarter. Although the impact of harsh weather on domestic sales in the quarter was modest, it did disrupt supply chain operations and service driving up costs in the consumer group.”

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AutoNation drives higher net income, revenue during Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – AutoNation Inc. reported net income of $91 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2014, about 10% higher than $83 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue totaled $4.4 billion, up 7% from $4.1 billion.

Revenue increases resulted from stronger performance in all business sectors, including new vehicles, used vehicles, parts and service, and finance and insurance.

“AutoNation delivered solid growth in EPS and operating income in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the prior year, driven by gross profit growth in all of our business sectors,” said Mike Jackson, chairman and CEO. “We continue to expect U.S. industry new vehicle unit sales to increase 3% to 5%, bringing U.S. industry new vehicle sales above 16 million units in 2014."

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