FINANCE

Talbots swings to profit in Q1, but cuts outlook

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hingham, Mass. — The Talbots reported Tuesday that first-quarter profit was $739,000, compared with a loss of $4.4 million in the year-ago period. However, net sales dropped 6% to $301.3 million, compared with $320.7 million in the same period last year, and consolidated same-store sales decreased 7.7%.

Results missed Wall Street estimates and the company has lowered its second quarter outlook.

“Our first quarter performance reflects an inconsistent customer response to our merchandise assortments, a challenging competitive environment and high levels of promotional activity,” said Trudy F. Sullivan, president and CEO.

Talbots said it expects "high levels" of markdowns throughout the second quarter to make way for new fall merchandise.

In line with previously announced plans to close 90 to 100 stores and consolidate and/or downsize 15 to 20 stores over two years, the retailer announced that it plans to close approximately 110 stores in total, including 13 consolidations. Some 83 stores are expected to close in fiscal 2011, 25 stores are planned for closure in fiscal 2012 and two stores are planned to close in fiscal 2013.

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FINANCE

Wal-Mart control to tip to Waltons

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — A $15 billion share buyback program, unveiled earlier in June, will allow Wal-Mart Stores’ founder Sam Walton’s descendants to see their stake in the chain edge up above 50%.

After Walton died in 1992, family members retained a stake of around 38% from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. Starting in 2003, a series of big share buybacks began to push the family stake higher, to 43% in 2008 and now to 49%, according to the latest filings.

To read the entire New York Times article, click here.

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FINANCE

Ahold sees profit rise 6%

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Amsterdam — Dutch retailer Koninklijke Ahold N.V. reported Tuesday that profit for the first quarter increased 6% to $423.84 million, citing a 6% sales rise and lowered operating costs for the improved performance.

Ahold generates more than half its sales in the United States through its Stop & Shop, Giant Carlisle and Giant Landover banners. In the Netherlands, it operates under the Albert Heijn banner.

The company didn’t give any guidance or detail on its growth strategy.

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