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Target, Baton Rouge

BY CSA STAFF
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A store transformed — that’s how Target refers to its Baton Rouge East (Louisiana) store which has re-opened its doors after sustaining massive damage from the floods that devastated the area in August.

The store has been totally redone, and now reflects Target’s updated store experience, with such features as its enhanced guest service and pick-up counter, stylish mannequin displays elevated grocery presentation with cross-merchandising displays, and home department with vignettes (versus standard shelving) that allow for a more convenient shopping experience.

Along with redoing its store, Target donated nearly $400,000 and countless volunteer hours in support of local flood relief efforts.

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FINANCE

Costco’s switch to Visa is paying off

BY Marianne Wilson

Costco Wholesale Corp. a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped partially by lower fees to credit card partner Visa.

Costco, which completed its switch to Visa from American Express during the fourth quarter, said net income rose to $545 million, or $1.24 per share, in the first quarter, ended Nov. 20, from $480 million, or $1.09 per share, in the year-ago period. (The retailer’s profit in the latest quarter included a $51 million gain from a legal settlement.)

Total revenue rose 3.2% to $28.10 billion, slightly below estimates. Same-store sales in the U.S. rose 1%.

Costco currently operates 723 warehouses, including 506 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 94 in Canada, 36 in Mexico, 28 in the United Kingdom, 25 in Japan, 12 in Korea, 12 in Taiwan, eight in Australia and two in Spain.

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FINANCE

Lululemon tops estimates in Q3; confident about holiday

BY Marianne Wilson

Consumers’ demand for stylish workout wear no shows on slowing down.

Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s sales rose 13% to $544.4 million, surpassing Wall Street estimates.

Total comparable sales, which includes comparable store sales and direct to consumer, increased by 7%. Same-store sales rose 4%.

Profit in the quarter was 47 cents a share, excluding some items. Analysts estimated 43 cents on average.

“Our third quarter results demonstrated strong execution across all areas of our business as we delivered continued topline momentum, outperformed in gross margin and inflected meaningfully in EPS,” said Laurent Potdevin, lululemon's CEO

Entering the fourth quarter, the retailer experienced mixed sales results that have since improved. But comps rose 16% in the U.S. on Black Friday and grew 29% on Cyber Monday, Potdevin said on call.

“I am inspired by the team's response and passion towards making this another successful holiday season, and I am confident that we will continue to deliver an unparalleled guest experience across all our channels and regions around the globe,” she stated.

Lululemon opened 12 stores during the quarter, giving it a total of 389 locations.

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