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TOPSS Focuses on the Store

BY CSA STAFF

The Las Vegas climate is about to get even hotter as retailers make their way to America’s playground for the fourth annual Technology & Operations Store Summit (TOPSS) next month.

The event, themed “Where Technology and Operations Merge,” will be held Oct. 3-5, at the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa in Las Vegas. The conference, sponsored by Chain Store Age and Retail Technology Quarterly, expects to welcome a delegation comprised of retailers, suppliers, analysts and technology partners all ready “to share business ideas,” said Cathy Hotka, principal, Cathy Hotka & Associates, Washington D.C. Hotka co-created the show program.

TOPSS’ “meeting” format will provide a relaxed setting that encourages intimate, serious discussions among peers. “What retailers of all flavors are most concerned about is the store and issues that affect store-level business,” Hotka said.

“TOPSS is the only show that has ‘Store’ in the name, and focuses on the role logistics, supply chain and information technology play at store level. It clearly attracts a diverse cross section of people.”

A strong session agenda promises to spark many ideas along these lines. With an emphasis on the store, the show promises to educate attendees on an array of topics, including point-of-sale, preparations for the PCI (payment-card industry) standard, loyalty and loss prevention.

Attendees will have their own individual agendas, but TOPSS promises to deliver a common goal: “to get business leaders to share their passion about the store and the shopping experience,” Hotka said.

“These retailers are sure to energize each other,” she noted. “Discussing what makes them passionate about the store experience will enhance the pathway for growth.”

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Sears Holdings ceo unhappy with 2Q

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings today reported net income of $176 million, or $1.17 per diluted share, for the second quarter ended Aug. 4, compared with net income of $294 million, or $1.88 per diluted share, for the second quarter ended July 29, 2006. The company attributed the decline in its second quarter results from the same quarter last year to lower operating results at both Sears Domestic and Kmart, which were partially offset by improved operating results at Sears Canada.

“We are disappointed with our second quarter results. Our gross margins came under pressure from sales declines and increased promotional activity, and as a result, our net income was significantly below last year and our expectations,” said Aylwin Lewis, Sears Holdings’ ceo and president.

Sears Domestic’s comparable-store sales declined 4.3% for the quarter, while Kmart’s comparable-store sales declined 3.8%. Total domestic comparable-store sales declined 4.1%. The company reported lower sales across most merchandise categories at both Kmart and Sears Domestic, partially offset by increased sales of women’s apparel at both Kmart and Sears Domestic, as well as within consumer electronics and footwear at Sears Domestic. For the quarter, total revenues declined $0.6 billion to $12.2 billion in fiscal 2007, as compared to $12.8 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2006.

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Lane Bryant pres. joins Christopher & Banks

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Former Lane Bryant president Lorna Nagler will join Christopher & Banks as president and ceo effective Aug. 31. She will replace Matthew Dillon, who resigned from his position as president and ceo and as a member of the board of directors today. Nagler has also been elected as a member of Christopher & Banks’ board of directors effective Aug. 31.

Nagler most recently served as president of Lane Bryant, a division of Charming Shoppes. Before joining Charming Shoppes in April, 2002, Nagler served as a senior vp and general merchandising manager for apparel and jewelry at Kmart Corp.

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