FINANCE

Tile Shop swings to profit in Q1; on track for 20 new stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis – Tile Shop Holdings Inc. reported net income of $3.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, a substantial improvement from a net loss of $44.7 million in the same quarter a year earlier. The retailer plans to open 20 new stores during fiscal 2014.

Helping drive the return to profitability was net sales growth of 13.3% to $64.4 million, compared with $56.8 million for the first quarter of 2013. The $7.5 million increase in sales was driven by incremental net sales of $8.8 million from stores not included in the same-store sales base, partly offset by a modest decrease in comparable store sales of 2.3%. Sales results were impacted by harsh winter weather conditions.

For the full fiscal year, Tile Shop expects net sales of $280 million to $290 million and same-store sales growth of 4%-6%.

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OPERATIONS

Walmart in deal with online car insurance site

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Walmart is adding car insurance to its lineup of consumer services. The retailer said it is partnering with AutoInsurance.com, which helps customers comparison shop for auto insurance, to provide customers with "a one stop shop" for their auto insurance needs.

The site allows consumers to look at prices at several insurance companies, including Progressive and Esurance (owned by Allstate), and contrast them with their current insurance.

The service is already available in eight states — Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas — and Walmart plans a nationwide rollout in the coming months.

Walmart will promote the AutoInsurance.com website in its stores, and receive a monthly fee in return, while AutoInsurance.com will collect commissions when insurance is sold on its site. Customers will also be able to access the site from Walmart’s own web site.

“Our business is driven by a commitment to taking products and services that are complex and pricey – and making them easy and affordable,” said Daniel Eckert, senior VP of services for Wal-Mart U.S. “Our customers too often have to settle for auto insurance policies that aren’t the best fit and cost more than they want to spend. With AutoInsurance.com, we’re helping our customers in Tennessee save money on one of their largest household expenses in a new, quick and easy way.”

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OPERATIONS

Hhgregg hires RadioShack exec as COO

BY Dan Berthiaume

Indianapolis – Hhgregg Inc. has hired Troy H. Risch as COO. Risch joins Hhgregg from RadioShack, where he served as executive VP of store operations.

Prior to this, Risch held a variety of operational leadership positions with Target Corp., including executive VP of stores. Risch will assume the COO position on May 5, 2014.

“Troy’s wealth of experience and industry knowledge will make him a key addition to Hhgregg’s executive team,” said Dennis May, president and CEO of Hhgregg. “As we continue to transform the company, Troy’s expansive experience in retail store operations and real estate will be instrumental in driving the strategic initiatives for Hhgregg’s long-term growth. We look forward to Troy joining the team.”

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