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BY CSA STAFF

Accruent unveiled new products—some upgrades to existing solutions—at its annual user’s conference, held April 10-13, in Santa Monica, Calif. The technology is designed to take real estate project management (RPM) to new heights and “help retailers become winners in the race for space,” said Mark Zygmontowicz, managing director of predictive analytics for Troy, N.Y.-based MapInfo, an Accruent technology partner.

Accruent 7, slated for phased releases throughout this year and into the first quarter of 2008, includes the company’s next-generation lease-administration tool—“a culmination of a three-year effort to create a 100% Web-based product,” explained Mark Friedman, CEO of Accruent.

The lease-administration solution, along with the company’s other RPM applications, is powered by alignment with strategic partners. Functionally, Business Objects—seamlessly embedded in the 7.0 application—and Microsoft Office create a user-friendly environment that allows users to operate within the comfortably familiar Word, Excel and Outlook setting as they manage leases, site selection, project management and other real estate departmental activities.

MapInfo has partnered with Accruent to add powerful predictive analytics to the RPM mix, and CoStar Group, Bethesda, Md., is integrating site information and data that will allow users to search available locations—even competitors’ sites—within any given market.

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Sears comps hurt by energy costs

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings today reported net income of $216 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended May 5, compared with net income of $180 million, or $1.14 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended April 29, 2006.

“In part, our domestic operating results reflect the impact of some of the same challenges being faced by our customers, such as rising energy costs and a slower housing market,” said Aylwin Lewis, Sears Holdings’ ceo and president. “However, as an organization, we need to overcome these factors by better controlling costs and developing innovative solutions that better meet our customers’ needs and allow us to generate a more reasonable level of profitability even in the face of such challenges.”

Domestic comparable-store sales declined 3.9% during the first quarter of fiscal 2007. Sears domestic comparable-store sales declined 3.4% for the quarter, while Kmart comparable-store sales declined 4.4%. We believe these declines reflect both increased competition and the impact of external factors such as rising energy costs, a slower housing market and poor weather conditions during the latter part of the first quarter of fiscal 2007. Kmart experienced lower transaction volumes across most merchandise categories, most notably within home goods, health and beauty products, and food and consumables. Similarly, Sears domestic recorded comparable-store sales declines across most merchandise categories and formats, with a notable decline in home appliance sales, which we believe reflects both a slower U.S. housing market and the impact of increased competition.

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Big Lots 1Q net sales up 3.4%

BY CSA STAFF

COLUMBUS, Ohio Big Lots today reported first quarter fiscal 2007 income from continuing operations of $29 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, compared to income from continuing operations of $14.5 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2006. Including the impact of discontinued operations, first quarter fiscal 2007 net income totaled $28.8 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, compared to $13.7 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, in the prior year.

Net sales for the first quarter ended May 5, increased 3.4% to $1.13 billion, compared to $1.1 billion for the same period in fiscal 2006. Comparable-store sales for stores open at least two years at the beginning of the fiscal year increased 4.9% for the quarter.

For the second quarter 2007, the company expects income from continuing operations of 7 cents to 10 cents per share versus income from continuing operations of 4 cents per share last year. Comparable-store sales are expected to increase 2% to 4%, compared to a 5.2% comparable-store sales increase recorded last year.

For fiscal 2007, the company expects income from continuing operations of $1.25 to $1.30 per share versus income from continuing operations of $1.01 per share last year.

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