Wet Seal swings to a loss in Q1
Foothills Ranch, Calif. — Fashion retailer Wet Seal Inc. swung to a loss in its first quarter amid declining sales. The company reported a loss of $21.8 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $3.1 million.
Sales fell 17% to $116.7 million. Total same-store sales, including e-commerce, fell 16.9%.
Wet Seal said it was challenged by weak mall traffic, higher promotional activity and disruptive weather as challenges for the quarter.
Wet Seal announced last month that it would shut down its Arden B brand to focus on its namesake brand.
The company on Tuesday said it expects to complete the planned conversion of 54 Arden B locations to Wet Seal and Wet Seal Plus merchandise by the end of the second quarter.
Intuit to acquire mobile bill pay company Check
New York — Intuit has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Check, a mobile bill pay company with some 10 million registered users. The acquisition will help accelerate Intuit’s ability to offer bill pay across small business and personal finance products and create opportunities to retain, attract and serve additional customers.
Check’s mobile app automates and consolidates the bill pay process all in one place. Check customers can monitor bills and accounts, receive alerts when bills are due or funds are low and pay bills automatically.
Once the transaction closes, Check will join Intuit’s Consumer Ecosystem Group. The Israel site will become an Intuit location, adding to the company’s growing global portfolio.
The transaction, valued at approximately $360 million for total cash and other consideration, is expected to close in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2014.
AutoZone stays on the right track in third quarter
AutoZone marked its 31st consecutive quarter of double digit earnings per share growth for the period ended May 10.
The company reported net sales of $2.3 billion for the quarter, an increase of 6.2% from the third quarter last year. Domestic same-store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, increased 4% for the quarter.
Net income for the quarter increased $19.6 million, or 7.4%, over the same period last year to $285.2 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 16.4% to $8.46 per share from $7.27 per share in the year-ago quarter.
For the quarter, gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 52% versus 51.8% for last year’s quarter. The company credited the improvement in gross margin to higher merchandise margins and lower shrink expense, partially offset by higher supply chain costs associated with current year inventory initiatives.
"We are pleased to report our 31st consecutive quarter of double digit earnings per share growth. AutoZoners across the company are dedicated to providing superior service to our customers and that dedication is evidenced in our consistently strong performance,” said chairman, president and CEO Bill Rhodes. “For the third quarter, overall our sales performance was generally consistent with the second quarter. While failure related categories were particularly strong in the second quarter, as expected, the deferrable maintenance categories rebounded in the third quarter and we expect that trend to continue through the summer. Our inventory availability test initiatives continue to show promise although we still have significant testing to complete before we determine our long-term approach. As we have routinely stated, we will remain committed to our disciplined approach to growing operating earnings and utilizing our capital effectively."
During the quarter ended May 10, AutoZone opened 30 new stores in the U.S., and seven new stores in Mexico, for a total of 4,901 stores in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in the U.S., 374 stores in Mexico and four stores in Brazil.