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Wet Seal profit soars in Q1

BY CSA STAFF

Foothill Ranch, Calif. — The Wet Seal reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended April 30 rose to $8 million, compared with $3.1 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $156 million from $137.8 million. Same-store sales increased 7%.

Wet Seal said it expects eight net new store openings in 2011, with six net openings at Wet Seal and two at Arden B.

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Report: Consumer confidence declines to nine-month low

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — A report released Thursday by Bloomberg said that consumer confidence fell last week to the lowest level in nine months as the cost of fuel pinched U.S. household budgets.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index declined to minus 49.4 in the period to May 15, the worst reading since August, from the prior week’s minus 46.9. A gauge of personal finances plunged to the weakest level since October 2009, and a monthly measure of economic expectations held at a seven-month low.

“A persistent pessimism has settled in among the American public, suggesting a rough second quarter for the U.S. consumer and economy,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. “Stagnant wages and an elevated level of unemployment are the probable causes behind the bleak view of the state of the national economy and household finance.”

Another report on Thursday showed that fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, making it more likely that the April surge in applications was caused by temporary events rather than deterioration in the labor market.

Jobless claims declined by 29,000 to 409,000 in the week ended May 14, the fewest in a month, Labor Department figures showed. The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a drop to 420,000.

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Dollar Tree profit soars 59%, raises forecast

BY CSA STAFF

Chesapeake, Va. — Dollar Tree reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended April 30 rose 59% to $101 million, compared with $63.6 million in the year-ago period. The 2010 figure included a charge of $26.3 million for a retail inventory accounting change.

The retailer raised its sales and profit forecast for the rest of the year.

Revenue increased more than 14% to $1.55 billion, beating Wall Street expectations. Same-store sales rose 7.1%.

The retailer said it opened 83 stores, closed seven and expanded or moved 41 in the quarter.

For the full year, the company expects revenue between $6.5 billion and $6.63 billion, up from a previous forecast of between $6.43 billion and $6.6 billion.

On a conference call with analysts, CEO Bob Sasser said Dollar Tree the chain plans to add coolers for fresh food to 325 stores this year, up from earlier projection of 225. The move would allow perishable food in roughly half of Dollar Tree’s stores by fiscal year-end.

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