FINANCE

Zale’s loss widens

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas — Zale Corp.’s first-quarter loss widened as a debt-related charge hit the bottom line but a slight drop in revenue was offset by higher margins. The jewelry retailer reported a loss of $97.9 million, up from $59.7 million a year earlier.

Sales fell 0.7% to $327 million, from $329 million. Same-store sales in the quarter ended Oct. 31 fell 1.1%.

“Since February 2010 when we began implementing our turnaround plan, each fiscal quarter has shown improvement," said CEO Theo Killion. "The second fiscal quarter will provide an important barometer of the progress we’re making in our turnaround.”

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FINANCE

Bain completes acquisition of Gymboree

BY CSA STAFF

Boston — The Gymboree Corp. and Bain Capital Partners, on Tuesday announced the successful completion of the company by affiliates of Bain Capital for $65.40 per share in cash, or approximately $1.8 billion.

As of Oct. 30, Gymboree operated 1,049 retail stores: 636 Gymboree stores (595 in the United States; 37 in Canada, two in Australia, and two in Puerto Rico); 148 Gymboree Outlet stores; 122 Janie and Jack shops; and 143 Crazy stores in the United States.

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Parago research forecasts record-breaking rebating this holiday season

BY CSA STAFF

Lewisville, Texas — Consumers can expect a record-breaking availability of rebates this holiday shopping season, according to Parago, a leading provider of reward programs.

With 2010 rebate performance to-date at blockbuster levels, (Parago has seen a more than 20% increase over the same time last year) more companies are rebating and more products are being sold with robust rebate offers. This momentum of great deals will carry through the holiday season, with more offers and rebate promotions being marketed than previous seasons.

“Our clients are aggressively rebating products to have that competitive edge, attract customers and achieve key objectives,” said Juli Spottiswood, President & CEO of Parago. “Rebates will be a key promotional strategy for major manufacturers and retailers this holiday season.”

Consumers’ perception of rebates is at an all-time high, with more than 89% of consumers surveyed having a positive or neutral perception of rebates, according to an October research study from Parago. Also, consumers choose rebates over other promotions, citing better savings as their motivation. Rebates allow marketers to offer deep discounts to their consumers that are otherwise unapproachable. And advances in technology and process have made the experience easier and faster.

Parago has thus far in 2010 processed more than $2 billion in total rebates — with the holiday season still ahead.

“We predict a more than 30% increase in the number of rebates available at retailers this holiday season,” Spottiswood said.

According to consumer research completed by Parago in 2009 and 2010, 83% of consumers said they were actively looking for rebates; 71% of consumers would go five-10 minutes out of their way for a $5 rebate on a $50 product; 87% would travel the extra distance for a $10 rebate; and a full 93% of consumers would travel five-10 minutes out of their way for a $15 rebate.

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