FINANCE

Zumiez profit increases 15% in Q3

BY Staff Writer

Everett, Wash. — Zumiez Inc. reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended Oct. 29 rose 14.8% to $14.1 million, from $12.3 million in the prior fiscal year.

Revenue climbed 13.3% to $154 million from $135.9 million, and same-store sales grew 6%.

“We are pleased with the current pace of growth for our business and believe our product assortment has us well positioned for the remainder of the holiday selling period," said Rick Brooks, CEO.

The company has opened all 45 new stores planned in fiscal 2011, including its first stores in Canada.

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OPERATIONS

Kronos Retail Labor Index hits three-year high

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chelmsford, Mass. — A report released Thursday by Kronos Inc. found that hiring in the retail sector continues to make marked improvements. The Kronos Retail Labor Index, which analyzes the current state of the demand and supply sides of the labor market within the U.S. retail sector, rose to 4.2% in November 2011, from a downwardly revised 3.5% in October. This was the highest reading since October 2008 and the second reading of 4% or higher in the last three months.

The Index is defined as the ratio of hires to applicants within a given month, expressed as a percentage. A level of 3% means that for every 100 applications received, three hires occurred.

“This increase in November hires relative to the recent trend could suggest that retailers are cautiously optimistic about upcoming holiday sales,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, which analyzes the data.

The retailers representing 18,362 distributed locations across the United States that make up the Kronos data sample made 34,491 hires (seasonally adjusted) in November 2011, up 7.1% from a downwardly revised 32,205 hires in October 2011. The level of hires in November was roughly 8% above the 2010 average, continuing to indicate modest improvement following sharp declines during the recession.

The number of applications received by retailers included in the Kronos sample declined 10.8% to 812,673 in November 2011, from an upwardly revised 911,552 in October 2011.

The 60-day retention rate, measured as the number of hires who remain employed for at least the first 60 days divided by the total number of hires made in that month, edged up to 84.4% in July from 83.3% in June.

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Report: Mobile shopping to grow during holiday season

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Boston — A new survey by website technology company Modapt and communications firm Morrissey & Co., evaluating mobile phone users’ holiday shopping habits and plans, found that more than half of respondents are making purchases using their mobile devices. Nearly one quarter of those surveyed have used mobile devices in the past to purchase holiday gifts.

The results also show that during the holiday season:

  • Fifty-six percent of respondents had made a purchase from their mobile phone;
  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents will use their mobile phone to compare prices while shopping;
  • Forty-eight percent will use their mobile phone to find store locations that carry the products they seek; and
  • Ninety percent of those who had made a mobile purchase said that convenience was a major factor, and 47% said ease of use was a primary reason they had made a purchase.

In addition, 66% of the mobile users said they will be enticed to use their phones to make purchases if retailers offer mobile incentives, and 46% said better price offers would convince them to make a mobile purchase.

“Consumers are more likely to do their shopping via mobile when it is convenient and when there are good incentives,” said Mark Lederhos, co-founder and CEO of Modapt. “Responsive retailers will respond in turn by making their mobile sites more enticing, easy to use and accessible, and by offering unique content and deals.”

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