FINANCE

Target gives $37,500 for tornado relief

BY Staff Writer

Minneapolis — Target has donated $37,500 in monetary support and product to assist with tornado relief efforts underway in the central United States. The donation includes $25,000 cash for the American Red Cross to aid their efforts and an additional $12,500 that can be used either as cash or product donations to local organizations in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri.

“When disaster strikes, Target listens and acts quickly to donate time, money and essentials to help support the needs of our communities,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target. “Our thoughts are with those affected and we hope our donation will aid the recovery efforts.”

In addition to financial contributions, Target teams are volunteering in their local communities. For example, 60 Target team members are volunteering with the Red Cross and United Way in Henryville, Ind., by unloading, sorting and delivering community donations to surrounding shelters.

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News

Stage Stores profits edge up slightly in Q4

BY Staff Writer

Houston — Profits at apparel retailer Stage Stores rose 2% to $32.7 million during the fourth quarter, from $32 million a year earlier.

Revenue increased 6% to $479.1 million from $453.7 million, beating Wall Street’s $468.2 million forecast.

For the year, Stage Stores reported net income of $31 million, down from $37.6 million in the prior year. Annual revenue climbed 3% to $1.51 billion.

Commenting on the company’s fourth quarter results, Andy Hall, president and CEO, stated, “We are pleased that we met our sales expectations for the fourth quarter; however, despite a 22% increase in earnings per share, we fell short of our bottom-line goal. Our results are a reflection of the highly promotional business environment that was prevalent throughout the quarter. We increased our promotional activities in an effort to respond to our customers needs and to maintain our inventories at an appropriate level. Our heightened promotional activities, coupled with our inability to pass through most of the fall cost increases, negatively impacted our merchandise margins and led to an 80 basis point decline in the gross profit rate. Importantly, we were able to control our SG&A expenses, and achieved a 40 basis point drop in the SG&A rate while operating 27 more stores versus last year.”

For the fiscal year 2012, the company is projecting comparable-store sales to be in a range of flat to up 2%.

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FINANCE

Children’s Place Q4 income down; to open 60 stores on 2012

BY Staff Writer

Secaucus, N.J. — The Children’s Place Retail Stores reported a drop in fourth-quarter net income from continuing operations after tax to $24.2 million, from $32.7 million in the year-ago period.

The chain said fourth-quarter sales performance was negatively impacted by the unseasonably warm weather this winter.

"Fiscal 2011 was a very productive year, despite the disappointing fourth quarter. The unseasonably warm weather forced us to take aggressive markdowns to clear winter apparel and these discounts, coupled with record high apparel costs, significantly impacted our fourth quarter margin and earnings," commented Jane Elfers, president and CEO. "On the positive side, comparable-store sales increased for the second consecutive quarter in our US Place stores and our e-commerce business grew double digits. In addition, our average unit retail increased high single digits across all channels and merchandise divisions during the quarter. We believe this demonstrates continued customer acceptance of our merchandise direction.

For the fiscal year, net sales increased 2.5% to $1.71 billion in fiscal 2011, compared with $1.67 billion in fiscal 2010. Comparable-retail sales for fiscal 2011 declined 2.5%.

Income from continuing operations after tax was $77.2 million in fiscal 2011 compared with $83.6 million in fiscal 2010.

The company closed 27 stores during fourth quarter 2011. During fiscal 2011, Children’s Place opened 88 stores and closed 34, ending the year with 1,049 stores. The company said it expects to open 60 new stores in fiscal 2012 and close 35.

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