Bed Bath & Beyond, Family Dollar Lead Retail-Sector Gains
from The Wall Street Journal
Retail shares headed higher this week, with Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. leading the gainers, after the home-furnishings retailer reported a smaller-than-expected fourth-quarter profit decline. Discounter Family Dollar Stores Inc.'s shares also shot upward after its profit outlook exceeded Wall Street expectations. Bed Bath & Beyond shares jumped 18 percent to $30.04. Analysts see the company standing to benefit from the liquidation of former rival Linens 'n Things. More
Recession Fuels Readers' Escapist Urges
from The New York Times
In a recession, what people want is a happy ending. At a time when booksellers are struggling to lure readers, sales of romance novels are outstripping most other categories of books and giving some buoyancy to an otherwise sluggish market. At Barnes & Noble, the country’s largest book chain, where its chief financial officer, Joe Lombardi, recently warned that overall 2009 sales were likely to fall between 4 percent and 6 percent, sales of romance novels are up. More
Gap, Clothing Retailers' March Sales Beat Estimates on Spring Promotions
March sales at clothing chains including Limited Brands Inc. and Gap Inc. fell less than analysts anticipated as spring promotions lured shoppers looking for fashion deals. Sales at Limited stores open at least a year fell 9 percent, less than the 12 percent average decline estimated by analysts in a survey by Retail Metrics Inc. Gap's sales dropped 8 percent, beating the 10 percent estimated slide, after its Old Navy stores exceeded analysts' expectations. More
Cut HVAC Power Usage
from The Processor
As belts tighten and budgets shrink, CIOs and IT directors are scouring every last line item for inexpensive fixes and major savings. The data center’s electricity bill has emerged as a major target of opportunity. You don’t need to rip out and replace your equipment to drive efficiencies in power and cooling. More
Chicago's Magnificent Mile Hits a Rough Stretch
from The Wall Street Journal
Tomas Coppinger flew to Chicago from Ireland this week with $6,000 in his pocket. But he barely spent any of it on the iconic shopping promenade known as the Magnificent Mile. "Beautiful street," Coppinger said as he paused beneath the skyline along Michigan Avenue. "But the prices are too high." Softness in the tourism and convention businesses − as well as bargain-hunters like Mr. Coppinger − are hurting the Midwest's most prestigious retail district. Subscription required.
Convenience Store of the Future May be Unmanned
from Shopping Center Today
RFID technology may provide an unexpected solution to one of the biggest problems in retailing: finding good help. At last month's National Retail Federation conference, Freedom Shopping, a Hickory, N.C.–based technology firm, showcased an unmanned convenience store prototype. The store uses RFID (radio frequency identification) bar codes to eliminate the need for a clerk. Shoppers simply place items onto the register area, as they would at any supermarket self-checkout station. More
Kosher Coke 'Flying Out of the Store'
from USA Today
They sit in the middle of the expansive kosher section inside an area Kroger supermarket. Two-liter bottles of kosher for Passover Coke — and they're quickly disappearing from the shelves. "They're quite popular not just with Jews, but non-Jews as well," said Rabbi Alan Schwartz. The reason — Coca-Cola uses sugar to sweeten the beverage instead of the normal fructose corn syrup. It's how Coke was made years ago and for many it's the taste they prefer. More
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Sam Walton: Bargain Basement Billionaire
Part P.T. Barnum, part Billy Graham, Sam Walton single-handedly built Wal-Mart into the biggest retailer in the world, transforming the way America shopped and making himself one of the world’s richest men in the process. Thanks to his “aw, shucks” demeanor and his strategy of targeting rural areas, retailing giants like Kmart, Sears and Woolworth’s never saw the scrappy, pickup-driving country boy coming. And when they did, it was too late to stop him. More
Restaurants Show There's Still Fat To Trim
from CNN Money
Casual-dining restaurants are still finding plenty of fat to trim as the industry cuts expansion plans, manages labor expenses and sees other costs fall, all of which could help companies post higher profits despite continued sales declines. Combined with slightly improved sales outlooks for the sector, some analysts say companies could offer rosier-than-expected earnings reports in the coming weeks, even though sales in the industry continue to remain sluggish. More
How to Control Negative Emotions
from CNN Money
During an economic storm, everything solid melts into air. When it's not clear if there's a tomorrow to work toward, how do you keep morale up and communication channels open? To help you stay afloat, here's my brief field guide to anger, fear and ambivalence, three negative emotions that many business owners wrestle with today. More
Consumer Credit Crunches
As Americans face layoffs and pay cuts, they're turning to their credit cards to make up the difference, experts say. These cuts in unused credit lines amount to cuts in compensation. The gloomiest forecast is for a 50 percent cut in unused credit lines. More
What Green Can Mean for Your Business Image
from Retail Customer Experience
Despite the economy, sustainability is still taking center stage in the retail industry, and it can be difficult to discern which initiatives lead to real sustainability and which are simply "greenwashing." Consumers are demanding greener products and facilities, and investors are requiring corporations to document and report their carbon emissions - leading many retailers to highlight their green initiatives very publicly. At the same time, companies are hesitant to make green investments that take five years or longer to pay back - assuming they pay back at all.
Look Out, H&M − Britain's Topshop Invades New York
from Time magazine
Not since the opening of Fiorucci in the 1970s or Reminiscence in the 1980s has a fast-fashion retail brand made such a splash in Manhattan. Model Kate Moss recently joined Arcadia Group chairman Sir Philip Green to cut the ribbon on British retail chain Topshop's long-awaited U.S. debut, at Broadway and Broome Street in SoHo. Originally scheduled to hit the Big Apple last fall, the delayed flagship opening comes at a time when other relatively inexpensive fashion brands like H&M and Zara are reporting declining sales figures. More
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