FINANCE

Target profit falls 46% on Canadian costs; trims full-year forecast

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Target Corp.’s third-quarter net income fell 47%, hurt by costs related to its Canadian expansion. Its adjusted profit beat analysts’ estimates, but sales fell short. The retailer lowered its full-year adjusted earnings forecast.

For the three months ended Nov. 2, Target earned $341 million, or 54 cents per share, down from $637 million in the year ago period. Removing Canada-related expansion costs and other items, earnings were 84 cents per share.

Revenue increased 2% to $17.26 billion from $16.93 billion. Wall Street expected $17.38 billion. Same-store sales inched up 0.9%, less than expected.

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said the company’s U.S. division performed well despite the fact that "consumer spending remains strained."

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FINANCE

Abercrombie & Fitch swings to Q3 loss on charges, weak sales

BY Marianne Wilson

New Albany, Ohio — Abercrombie & Fitch Co. swung to a loss in its third quarter, dragged down in part by charges related to the shuttering of its 28 freestanding Gilly Hicks stores. But its adjusted profit topped analysts’ estimates, even as its sales softened.

"Our results for the third quarter reflect weakness in top-line performance, which we expect to continue in the fourth quarter,” said Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. “However, we continue to work hard to offset these conditions and are aggressively pursuing initiatives we believe will improve the sales trend as we go forward.”

For the three months ended Nov. 2, the retailer lost $15.6 million, compared with a profit of $84 million in last year’s third quarter.

Revenue fell 12% to $1.03 billion, from $1.17 billion. Wall Street expected revenue of $1.04 billion.

Total U.S. sales, including online and catalog sales, were down 18% to $674.9 million. Total international sales rose 2% to $358.4 million.

Same-store sales fell 14%. Online and catalog sales comparable sales rose 11%.

Abercrombie will continue to offer Gilly Hicks branded intimate apparel through its Hollister stores and direct-to-consumer business.

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OPERATIONS

Canada’s Jean Coutu Group selects Microsoft Dynamics for Retail

BY Marianne Wilson

Redmond, Wash. — Canadian pharmacy retailer The Jean Coutu Group Inc. has selected Microsoft Dynamics for Retail to manage all its retail operations, from its headquarters down to the point-of-sale devices in stores. Jean Coutu will deploy Microsoft Dynamics to more than 400 stores, 3,000 POS systems and 11,500 devices with implementation to start in 2014.

"We knew we wanted a system that we could scale for future growth and gave people across the company the information they need to do their jobs. Microsoft Dynamics provides that flexibility along with an easy, familiar interface," said Alain Boudreault, VP and chief information officer, Jean Coutu Group. "This will help us better serve our customers now and in the future."

Jean Coutu employs more than 19,000 people and operates a network of more than 400 franchised stores in the Canadian provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario, under the banners of PJC Jean Coutu, PJC Clinique, PJC Sante and PJC Sante Beaute. Besides running these retail operations, the company also responds to the needs of its franchise network by providing an array of technical and professional support services, as well as the supply, warehousing and delivery of products.

Jean Coutu needed a new, integrated system to manage its retail operation because its current system was reaching the end of its life, and wanted one solution to cover the whole spectrum of retail operations. As the selection process began, Jean Coutu managers discovered that one solution for all their needs was nearly impossible to find, and they decided to consider two solutions: one for the retail headquarters and store management, and one for the POS. But they found that Microsoft Dynamics for Retail would meet all of its needs in one solution.

"The fact that Microsoft is providing us with an end-to-end solution makes it so much easier to envision our future technology plans and the future of our retail business," Boudreault said. "We are also considering deploying Windows tablets as part of our overall mobile POS strategy and are excited at the potential Microsoft can bring to PJC."

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