FINANCE

Zale’s Losses Widen as Inventory is Reduced

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas Zale Corp. said Thursday its losses widened in the third quarter, as expected, after the company began its initiative to permanently reduce inventory levels.

Third-quarter losses totaled $16.8 million compared with $4 million in the prior year. Excluding income from discontinued operations, quarterly losses totaled $17.4 million compared with a loss of $5 million.

Quarterly revenue rose 6% to $476.7 million, from $449 million in the third quarter of 2007.

In February, after reporting that second-quarter profit dropped 31%, Zale announced an initiative to permanently reduce inventory and make the stores more appealing to price-sensitive customers. Zale said the goal was to achieve a $100 million reduction in inventory in the second half of 2008, which was expected to have a 500 basis point negative impact on gross margin.

Zale said its strategy exceeded expectations in the third quarter. The company liquidated $55 million of inventory with a 460 basis point reduction in gross margin.

“We are very pleased with our progress this quarter against our plan,” said Neal Goldberg, president and CEO. “We have a focused agenda to improve performance and the team has stayed locked-in on achieving our objectives. This includes focusing on our core customer by clarifying our merchandise offering, improving our value proposition and simplifying our marketing message that is led by product and supported by price.”

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Office Depot receives pre-LEED certification for new prototype

BY CSA STAFF

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. Office Depot announced that it has become the first company to achieve volume pre-certification under the pilot Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Portfolio Program for its store prototype design – the retailer’s master set of drawings – from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

A USGBC member since 2007, Office Depot was part of the first group of participants to become involved in the pilot of the Portfolio Program. Part of the initiative involves piloting a volume certification path to enable companies to integrate LEED attributes into a prototype design and apply it across multiple buildings.

Office Depot has implemented a number of initiatives over the past couple of years to improve the energy efficiency of our stores and reduce our environmental footprint, said Ed Costa, vp of construction for Office Depot. Achieving Volume Pre-Certification through LEED affirms our leadership position in the retail industry as well as in general building construction. The entire organization is proud of this accomplishment. 

The first Office Depot store to be built to this prototype is located in Austin, Texas and is scheduled to open late next month. According to the USGBC, LEED-Certified buildings reduce energy usage, create less waste and emit fewer harsh chemicals.

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Weis Markets to acquire Giant Markets

BY CSA STAFF

SUNBURY, Pa. Weis Markets announced its plans to purchase the stores of Binghamton New York-based Giant Markets. It expects to complete the purchase in by Aug. 21.

Weis Markets will purchase Giant Markets’ Broome County stores located in Binghamton, Vestal, Endicott, Endwell and Johnson City.

 

“This acquisition is an excellent strategic fit for our company. Giant Markets is the market leader in Broome County where they have excellent locations, modern stores and a strong market presence,” said Weis Markets’ vice chairman Jonathan Weis. “For many years, they have been a significant part of the community and they’ve offered an excellent combination of quality, value and service. We are pleased to be working with their associates and look forward to welcoming them to our organization.”

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