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Tween Brands extends private label credit-card contract

BY CSA STAFF

New Albany, Ohio Specialty retailer Tween Brands said Thursday that it extended its existing relationship with Alliance Data, a Dallas-based provider of private label credit-card services.

Tween Brands recently converted all Limited Too stores to its new Justice brand, a banner that caters to girls between the ages of 7 and 11. The chain markets its private-label card to the parents of its target shoppers.

“Recognizing our cardholders are some of our best customers, we view our private label credit-card program as an integral part of our marketing strategy,” said Mike Rayden, chairman and CEO, Tween Brands “The card program also will play a critical role in helping Limited Too cardholders embrace the Justice brand.”

As the company markets the new Justice brand to its shopper base, Alliance will continue to acquire and activate accounts and issue cards. It will also continue to manage receivables funding, generate cardholder statements, process payments, and conduct customer service functions and marketing services.

Under new contract terms, Alliance will also provide Tween Brands with analytics and customer-segmentation strategies to improve the chain’s cardholder acquisition and retention levels. These new services will enable the retailer’s Justice brand to target shoppers based on their purchase histories and preferences, a strategy that could potentially drive sales.

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Macy’s suffers 1Q loss, but sees boost online

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI Macy’s reported a net loss of 21 cents per diluted share for the first quarter of 2009. In the first quarter of 2008, Macy’s lost 14 cents per diluted share.

“We continue to successfully navigate this very difficult economic environment,” said Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chairman, president and CEO. “Our first quarter sales were consistent with our initial expectations, while earnings and cash flow performance were better than expected.

Sales in the first quarter totaled $5.199 billion, down 9.5% from total sales of $5.747 billion in the first 13 weeks of 2008. On a same-store basis, Macy’s first quarter sales were down 9%.

Online sales (macys.com and bloomingdales.com combined) were up 16.2% in the first quarter of 2009 and positively affected the company’s first quarter 2009 same-store sales by 0.5 percentage points. Online sales are included in the same-store sales calculation for Macy’s.

Macy’s is maintaining its guidance for fiscal 2009 sales to be down between 6% and 8%, and for earnings of 40 cents to 55 cents per diluted share, excluding division consolidation costs. The company expects it will exceed this guidance if the economy improves in the second half of the year. The company expects to book approximately $230 million in division consolidation costs in the final three quarters of 2009.

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Payless helps give NYC kids some fresh air

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK CITY and TOPEKA, Kan. Payless has partnered with The Fresh Air Fund once again for the Friendship Shoe program designed to raise money and awareness for the nonprofit organization and its mission to give inner-city children from New York City “fresh air” through free summer experiences at Fresh Air Fund camps and with host families in “Friendly Towns” outside the city.

Payless is now selling its “Friendship Shoe” for $17.99 in children’s sizes and $22.99 in adult sizes, while supplies last, at about 280 Payless stores in the New York City metro area (including stores in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey) and on Payless.com. Payless will donate 100% of the net profits from the sale of the Friendship Shoe to The Fresh Air Fund.

“Our Friendship Shoe celebrates friendship – it’s a unique item for children to carry out the time-honored tradition of sharing each other’s signatures — and it’s fully philanthropic, helping give summer camp opportunities to children who might not have them,” said LuAnn Via, president of Payless ShoeSource. “This is our third year with this program and we are thrilled to partner with The Fresh Air Fund on an empowering initiative that will ignite a range of possibilities for children, and especially to help Fresh Air Fund kids to get out of the city this summer and experience new friends, new venues, and new activities.”

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