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Tiffany: 2008 Holiday “Most Challenging” Since Going Public

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Tiffany & Co. on Wednesday said the 2008 holiday season was the most challenging since it went public 21 years ago and lowered its 2008 profit forecast as a result.

Earlier Wednesday, Tiffany cut its yearly profit outlook due to weak consumer spending. Many jewelers have struggled to post robust sales because shoppers have curbed discretionary spending.

“The 2008 holiday season was the most challenging in the 21 years since Tiffany became a public company,” said Mark Aaron, Tiffany’s VP investor relations.

Aaron, speaking on a conference call with analysts, said the company’s Manhattan flagship store, which generates about 10% of yearly revenue, was hurt by a slowing in international tourists to the area.

“The slowdown in sales to European visitors that affected the New York flagship store was probably consistent with the recent industry report of a slowing in overall tourism to New York,” Aaron said.

Tiffany will offer an early retirement program to about 800 U.S. employees to help cut costs. The company will record one-time charges that are yet to be determined in the fourth quarter for these moves.

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Walgreens launches employer-centric health program

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens announced that it is launching an employer centric pharmacy, health and wellness program designed to reduce health care and prescription costs for employers across the country.

The program, called Complete Care and Well-Being, is a new and unique approach to health care that brings together pharmacy, health and wellness services under a single program, with all prices transparent to the employer. It represents a fundamental change to the delivery of health care services for employers, their employees, dependents and retirees.

The program is offered through Take Care Health Systems, a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest provider of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics in the country. Complete Care and Well-Being combines worksite health centers, in-store clinics and pharmacies with a discount prescription drug offering that is available nationally to a company’s employees, dependents and retirees no matter where they work or live. In addition, beneficiaries under the plan receive a 15 percent savings on all Walgreens brand store products.

“Over the past two years, we built and assembled the services necessary to offer a unique solution to rising pharmacy and health care costs,” said Walgreens president Greg Wasson. “Unlike most health care reform options, Walgreens Complete Care and Well-Being program will address both controlling costs and improving access to quality care. It also delivers on the promise of reform in a way that sets us apart from other solutions and provides value for employers and payers of all types.”

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Fresh & Easy to add 200 jobs in next two months

BY CSA STAFF

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market announced it will create 200 jobs over the next two months as the company continues to expand in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. Fresh & Easy created nearly 3,000 jobs in 2008.

“We are thrilled to continue to create quality, local jobs with tremendous opportunity for advancement,” said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. “We know people are looking for jobs with good pay and comprehensive benefits and we are proud to be part of the solution.”

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