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Grotto Pizza rewards all customers with Paytronix

BY Dan Berthiaume

Rehoboth Beach, Del. – Grotto Pizza has leveraged the Paytronix Rewards Platform to implement a multi-tiered loyalty program that enables the chain to reward year-round diners without heavily discounting seasonal guests. In particular, the “Winter Wednesday” promotion has enabled Grotto Pizza to increase off-season traffic on what was its slowest day of the week by 84%.

Two years ago, Grotto Pizza migrated its Swirl Rewards Club gift, loyalty and email marketing program to the Paytronix Rewards Platform in order to create a better way to drive guest traffic during off-peak winter hours, and to increase traffic on weekday evenings. Today more than 48% of all Grotto Pizza guests are registered members of the loyalty program, and 86% of those guests have opted in for email communications. The Swirl Rewards Club has a rate of engagement that is above the 15% penetration needed to make an impact.

“We saw an opportunity to use our Paytronix-powered loyalty program as a way to discount our loyal guests without leaving dollars on the table from people who would stop in only once and who would buy a pizza regardless,” said Vinnie DiNatale, director of marketing at Grotto Pizza Inc. “We’re grateful that our customers are loyal, choosing to dine with Grotto Pizza, so we show our loyalty in return by providing the best offers and experience possible, and Paytronix makes it easy to do just that.”

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Container Store Q4 profit drops; will open nine new stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Coppell, Texas – Higher selling, general and administrative (SG&A expenses) helped drive down net income at The Container Store Inc. during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, and the retailer expects open nine new stores and relocate one store during fiscal 2015. The Container Store reported net income of $13 million, down 29% from $18.3 million in the same quarter the prior year.

Net sales totaled $224.26 million, up 3% from $216.82 million. Same-store sales dropped 0.8%.

Kip Tindell, chairman and CEO of The Container Store, said the impact of bad weather on the retailer’s Swedish Elfa subsidiary had a negative effect on fourth quarter performance.

“Our fourth quarter did not conclude according to early-in-the-quarter trends,” said Tindell. “Weather was a contributing factor, as we experienced winter storms in February during the vitally important last four days of our 50-day Annual Elfa Sale and during the last week of our 19-day sale’s extension. Additionally, a stronger U.S. dollar had a significant impact on the conversion of our Elfa subsidiary sales. Weather and foreign exchange headwinds aside, our sales performance fell short of our expectations in fourth quarter and in fiscal 2014.”

During the full fiscal year, The Container Store almost tripled net income to $22.67 million from $8.16 million the prior fiscal year. Net sales increased 4% to $781.87 million, from $748.54 million. Same-store sales fell 1.4%.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2015, The Container Store expects same-store sales to be down 3% to 4% including an estimated 1% impact associated with the West Coast port delays. For fiscal 2015, consolidated net sales are expected to be $800 million to $815 million, based on the company’s expected store openings and a same-store sales change of -2% to 0%.

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Children’s Place activist investors urge new board members

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Shareholders for Change at The Children's Place, an activist investor group led by Macellum Advisors GP LLC and Barington Capital Group L.P., has filed a detailed investor presentation with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). The presentation supports the election of two board of directors nominees, Seth R. Johnson and Robert L. Mettler, at the upcoming 2015 annual meeting.

In the presentation, Shareholders for Change at The Children's Place outlines its views regarding why immediate change is necessary at The Children's Place, including what it says is the company's history of poor operating and stock price underperformance under the direction of the current management team and board. Macellum and Barrington collectively own approximately 2.1% of The Children's Place Inc.

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