STORE SPACES

Toys ‘R’ Us unveils enhanced Imaginarium in-store shops

BY Staff Writer

Wayne, N.J. — As part of a re-imagination of its Imaginarium brand, Toys “R” Us said Tuesday it will redesign its in-store Imaginarium shops nationwide with enhanced offerings and products in both bricks-and-mortar stores and online.

The retailer said it will support the Imaginarium redesign and product expansion with a fully integrated marketing program that includes print advertisements, as well as in-store and online boutiques.

Beginning Oct. 4, surrounding an expanded collection of educational toys will be such in-store additions as increased interactivity in the Imaginarium Express train section, the Imaginarium Pretend doll section and Imaginarium Harmony music section.

The new in-store feature shop will be prominently located in the front of stores to showcase the Toys “R” Us Imaginarium brand.

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OPERATIONS

Ex-Carter’s exec charged with fraud

BY Staff Writer

Atlanta — U.S. prosecutors have charged former Carter’s senior VP Joseph Elles with securities fraud, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Elles has been accused of lying about the company’s financial situation and then selling shares of its stock when the price was artificially inflated.

A federal grand jury indicted Joseph Elles on charges of securities fraud, falsifying corporate records and filing false statements while he was with Carter’s. Among the accusations are charges that he gave rebates worth tens of millions of dollars to Kohl’s Corp., Carter’s largest customer, and then hid the discounts in financial statements. Elles left the company in 2009.

He was released on $100,000 bond at a court hearing Monday.

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FINANCE

Walgreen profit leaps 69% in Q4

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreen Co. reported Tuesday that profit for its fiscal fourth quarter surged 69%, in part due to gains from the $525 million sale of its pharmacy benefits management business Walgreens Health Initiatives during the quarter.

Net income for the quarter ended Aug. 31 rose to $792 million, up from $470 million in the year-ago period and surpassing Wall Street expectations.

Revenue rose 6.5% to $18 billion and same-store sales increased 4.4%.

For the full fiscal year, Walgreen reported earnings of $2.71 billion on $72.18 billion in revenue.

“Through constant innovation and effective execution of our key initiatives, we continued to make substantial progress this year in the transformation of Walgreens to become the first choice for health and daily living,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson.

In the fourth quarter, the company opened or acquired 59 stores compared with 65 in the year-ago quarter. In fiscal 2011, Walgreens added a net gain of 199 new drug stores including 32 acquisitions, on target with its plan to slow organic store growth to between 2.5% and 3% during the year.

The company also said that it completed its 2009-set goal during the fiscal year to convert or open 5,500 Walgreens stores to its new customer centric format. And as announced earlier in the year, it plans to convert or open at least 1,000 “food oasis” stores over the next five years to address the need for greater access to healthy foods in underserved communities across the country, building on a 12-store pilot in Chicago.

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