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Costco ends year on an upbeat note

BY Marianne Wilson

Costco Wholesale Club reported better-than-expected profit and revenue for its fourth quarter.

Net sales for the 17-week fourth quarter ended Sept. 3 rose 15.8% to $41.36 billion from $35.73 billion in year-ago period, which had 16 weeks. Total same-store sales rose 6.1%, with a 6.5% increase in the U.S. and a 4.9% increase in Canada. International same-store sales rose 5.6%

E-commerce sales in the quarter were up 21%. Membership fees rose 13% to $943 million.

Costco's net income for the quarter was $919 million, or $2.08 per diluted share, compared to $779 million, or $1.77 per diluted share, last year.

Net sales for the 53-week fiscal year rose 8.7% to $126.17 billion. Net income was $2.68 billion, or $6.08 per diluted share, compared to $2.35 billion, or $5.33 per diluted share, last year.

Costco ended its fiscal year with 741 warehouses in operation, including 514 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 97 in Canada, 37 in Mexico, 28 in the United Kingdom, 26 in Japan, 13 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, nine in Australia, two in Spain, one in France and one in Iceland. The company also operates e-commerce websites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea and Taiwan.

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Embattled department store retailer gets fresh cash infusion from owner

BY Marianne Wilson

As it heads into its most important selling season, Sears Holding Corp. is receiving another cash infusion from its CEO and largest shareholder.

Sears is borrowing $100 million from units of CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund ESL Investments for "general corporate purposes," according to a regulatory filing. The new infusion brings the total of Lampert's outstanding loans to Sears to $499.4 million.

Under the amended terms of the new loan, the retailer can borrow up to another $100 million — if needed — by pledging additional properties or assets as collateral. The loans carry an interest rate of 11%.

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Former GNC exec to head up auto parts retailer

BY Marianne Wilson

Jegs Automotive Inc. has appointed a veteran marketing executive as its new chief executive.

The family-owned high-performance auto parts retailer on Wednesday announced it has appointed Jeffrey Hennion as its new CEO, effective Oct. 16. Most recently, Hennion served three years at GNC Holdings, where he was executive VP, chief marketing &amp e-commerce officer. He resigned in June.

Prior to GNC, Hennion held leadership positions at several retail, technology and industrial companies. He was president and CFO of Branding Brand from 2012 to 2014. Hennion also spent including 10 years at Dick’s Sporting Goods in a variety of roles, including five years as executive VP, chief marketing &amp e-commerce officer.

“Jegs has a long tradition of success – with our customers, on the race track and as a leading, high-growth, e-commerce retailer,” stated co-owner and VP Jeg Coughlin Jr. "Based on the strength of our business and the Jegs brand, we felt that finding someone like Jeff would help us continue the successful trajectory and accelerate our growth to the next level. The breadth of Jeff’s experience and depth of knowledge in the e-commerce space will complement the existing strength of the Jegs team and business.”

While at GNC, Hennion helped launched the company’s new G business model that involved realigning the company’s e-commerce, pricing and loyalty programs across its more than 6,800 stores as well as its wholesale business with other retailers.

Founded in 1988, Jegs has evolved from a 4,000-sq.-ft. speed shop to a leading online high performance automotive parts retailer, with over 1 million SKU’s available for purchase.

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