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Tuesday Morning sales rise in Q2

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — Tuesday Morning Corp. reported Tuesday that sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose 4.5% to $285.3 million, compared with $273.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

Same-store sales increased 5.6%.

Tuesday Morning also reported that beginning with this second quarter sales report it will no longer provide net income estimates with sales figures, but will instead consolidate that information in its earnings reports.

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Sears loses CEO, but gains momentum

BY CSA STAFF

Just when things seem to be looking up for Sears Holdings, chairman Edward Lampert will assume the additional responsibilities of CEO following the revelation that current chief executive Lou D’Ambrosio will leave the company for family medical reasons.

News of D’Amrosio’s departure comes as the Sears Holdings preannounced improved profitability for the fist nine weeks of the fourth quarter and fiscal year ending February 2, D’Amrosio’s last day.

Fourth quarter profits on an adjusted basis are expected to range between $365 million and $465 million, compared to $351 million last year. Full year profits on an adjusted basis are expected to range between $560 million and $660 million, compared to $277 million last year.

"We expect to generate domestic (earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) improvement for the fourth consecutive quarter, and have reduced net debt by $400 million as of December 29, 2012," D’Ambrosio said. "We have also made considerable progress on our strategic priorities of transforming the company around Integrated Retail and our ShopYourWay membership program."

Despite the improved profitability, top line growth remains hard to come by at Sears and Kmart stores. Same store sales at Sears domestic units increased by half a percent while comps at Kmart were down 3.8%, leaving the company with a blended 1.8% decline for the first nine weeks of the fourth quarter and a 2.6% decline year to date.

The sales weakness was blamed on the consumer electronics category, which performed poorly enough at Sears and Kmart that the company said the comp figure for the nine week period would have increased 2.4% at Sears and declined only 2.4% at Kmart for a total company decline of only 0.2%.

Areas of strength singled out by the company were apparel and appliances categories at Sears, with apparel on track for six consecutive quarters of comparable store sales increases. Another bright spot was said to be online, where sales increased 20% thanks to omnichannel initiatives that allow for merchandise ordered online to be picked up in store or merchandise ordered in store to be shipped to customers’ homes. Meanwhile, at Kmart, the key drivers of sales weakness were significant declines in consumer electronics as well as declines in the pharmacy area due to increased availability of lower priced generic drugs. The grocery, household and drug categories were also said to be weak.

While the results are hardly spectacular, they do represent an improvement for Sears Holdings and chairman Lampert spoke highly of D’Amrosio’s contributions.

"The board greatly appreciates Lou’s strong leadership in accelerating the transformation of Sears Holdings, and we understand and respect his personal decision to step down," Lampert said. "Lou has guided Sears Holdings during a time of rapid industry change to become a more customer and member-focused company and positioned us to lead in integrated retail. His contributions to our company have been significant, and the entire Sears Holdings family wishes Lou and his family the very best."

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Ascena Retail Group nabs new CFO

BY CSA STAFF

SUFFERN, N.Y. — Ascena Retail Group has named Dirk Montgomery as its new EVP and CFO.

Current EVP and CFO Armand Correia is retiring after 21 years with the specialty retailer, which offers clothing, shoes and accessories for missy and plus-size women and tween girls, under the Justice, Lane Bryant, Maurices, Dressbarn and Catherines brands.

Montgomery was most recently EVP and chief value chain officer of Bloomin’ Brands, which operates global restaurant brands Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, generating approximately $4 billion in annual revenues. Prior to that position, he served as CFO of Bloomin’ Brands for six years.

“On behalf of our entire organization, I’d like to personally thank Armand for his 21 years of service to Ascena. His stewardship was instrumental in delivering market-leading rates of growth and return for our shareholders, particularly over the last decade. We are excited to welcome Dirk to our team, and are confident that his leadership, expertise and experience will enable us to continue building upon this record of achievement,” said David Jaffe, president and CEO of Ascena.

Prior to joining Bloomin’ Brands in 2005, Mr. Montgomery served in a variety of domestic and international leadership roles in the areas of finance, procurement, strategic planning and operations in the retail and consumer products segments. This included significant experience in financial leadership roles such as CFO of the $9 billion Con Agra Foods Retail Group, as CFO of Express (previously a division of Limited Brands) and in several senior management positions with the Sara Lee Corporation.

Mr. Montgomery began his career at Ernst & Young as an auditor and corporate finance consultant. He has an undergraduate degree in accountancy from Miami University of Ohio, a CPA from the State of Ohio and an MBA from the University of Chicago with a concentration in finance and a specialization in policy.

“I am very excited to be joining Ascena and share the strong vision the Ascena team has to continue to grow the business and to further extend the company’s leadership position in the specialty retailing industry. I look forward to the work ahead, including completing the integration projects already underway and, more broadly, to sharing my experience and expertise in developing and implementing a thoughtful and strategic approach to growth and value creation in the years ahead,” said Montgomery.

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