FINANCE

Williams-Sonoma profit surges 28% in Q2

BY Staff Writer

San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma reported Tuesday that profit for the second quarter surged 28% to $39 million, citing online strength and international sales for the improved performance.

Revenue rose 5% to $815 million.

The company has raised its outlook.

“As we look forward to Q3, we believe that our innovative merchandising strategies, multi-channel marketing reach, strong value proposition, and superior customer service will allow us to continue to deliver leading results in the home furnishings category,” said Laura Alber, president and CEO.

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REAL ESTATE

Gap to open stores in Vietnam and Guam

BY Staff Writer

San Francisco — Gap said Tuesday it plans to open stores in both Vietnam and Guam as part of the retailer’s efforts to ramp up overseas expansion.

A Gap store is slated to open in Vietnam in October, followed by a Banana Republic store in late 2012.

The first two Gap stores will open in Ho Chi Minh City as part of a franchise deal with Imex Pan Pacific, with additional stores set for Hanoi in 2012.

The first two Gap stores will open in Guam in January, under an existing franchise agreement with Casual Clothing Specialist.

"Vietnam’s rapidly growing economy and Guam’s well developed tourism industry both provide ample opportunity to introduce the Gap and Banana Republic brands to local consumers," Stefan Laban, Gap’s managing director of strategic alliances, said in a statement.

Gap’s international coverage, including the latest deals in Vietnam and Guam, includes 32 countries. It has announced plans to double its current 200-store franchise base to 400 by fiscal 2014.

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OPERATIONS

NRF Survey; Department stores and apparel stores attract last-minute back-to-school shoppers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — A survey released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation and conducted by BIGresearch showed that department stores, clothing stores and websites are expected to attract most of the last-minute back-to-school purchases.

According to NRF’s 2011 Back-to-School survey, the average family has completed 43% of shopping for K-12 students, similar to last year’s 43.2%. College students and their parents have completed 44.3% f their shopping, up slightly from last year’s 43.1%.

While discount retailers will remain the top shopping destination for last-minute back-to-school shoppers (56.9%), the number of people who will shop at department stores and specialty clothing stores as school approaches is expected to jump substantially this year. According to the survey, 47.1% of last-minute shoppers plan to visit department stores, a 10% increase over last year’s 42.7%. Just over 40% (40.8%) plan to visit specialty clothing stores, a 19% jump over last year’s 34.3%, and 21.7% say they plan to shop online, up from last year’s 16%.

College shoppers will also flock to discount stores (48.2%) for their last-minute purchases. The number of people shopping in department stores (39.6%) and clothing stores (27.7%), however, also rose among that crowd.

An NRF survey released in July estimated that combined K-12 and college spending will reach $68.8 billion, serving as the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers behind the winter holidays. The average family of K-12 students will spend approximately $600 on back to school while college students and their parents will spend an average of $800.

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