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Retail Briefs

Bed Bath Puts Up Strong Numbers

Bed Bath & Beyond raised its fiscal year outlook by a penny last week after reporting a 21 percent profit increase for the first quarter.

The company expects earnings per share of $1.88 for the year, according to Ronald Curwin, chief financial officer. He described Wall Street's forecast for second-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share as “reasonable.”

First quarter net income was $98.9 million, or 33 cents a share. Sales rose 13 percent to $1.24 billion, with comps up 4.4 percent.

Bill Takes Aim at Wal-Mart

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Sen. Jon Corzine (D.-N.J.) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York) last week introduced a bill that would that would require states to report annually on the number of employees of large companies who receive health coverage through taxpayer-funded health care rather than employer-based plans.

In announcing the Health Care Accountability Act, the officials noted in a joint statement that “more than 600,000 Wal-Mart workers are forced to get health insurance coverage from the government or through their spouses' plans.”

The trio reported that in the 15 states that require disclosure, Wal-Mart employees are the largest single-company block tapping taxpayer-subsidized health care — costing those states more than $210 million.

Hancock Names New VPs

Hancock Fabrics has named two new vice presidents in the company's merchandising division: Marscia Mahoney, vice president, Home Decorating Division; and Dinah Smith, vice president, Quilting/Craft Division. They report to Dean Abraham, senior vice president, merchandising.

Design Within Reach to Add Bedding

Design Within Reach, a retailer of modern furniture and accessories (including rugs), will introduce sheets, blankets and bedding accessories this fall.

The retailer — which sells through its Web site, catalog, 51 “studio” locations and an independent sales force — also has named Karen John director of product development. John, who has been a consultant to the company since 2003, oversaw the development of the bedding line. Previously, she worked for Antonio Citterio & Partners, an international design firm in Milan, and Austin-based enterprise software company Trilogy.

Ikea Opening Store in Atlanta

Ikea is opening its first store in the Southeast United States on June 29 in Atlanta.

The store will feature 10,000 exclusively designed home furnishings items under a 366,000-square-foot roof and marks Ikea's 23rd store in the country.

The store will offer items ranging from textiles to mattresses to beds, highlighted in 52 room-setting displays and four complete model homes.

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