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Retail Briefs

Sears opens FirstOutlet Store

Sears Holdings opened its first fashion outlet late last month at the Discovery Mills Mall in Lawrenceville, Ga.

The outlet will carry end-of-season, discontinued, and overstock merchandise from both Sears and Kmart, including apparel, accessories and home fashions merchandise such as small kitchen appliances, bedding and bath items. Pricing will be 60% to 80% off the retail price.

The 30,000-square-foot store will hold its official grand opening May 15.

Macy's Raises Outlook

Macy's Inc. raised its guidance for the first quarter and fiscal year. For the quarter, which ends May 1, earnings are expected to be break-even compared to a year-ago loss of 16 cents per share. Comps are expected to rise about 5%, consistent with previous guidance.

For the year, Macy's expect EPS of $1.75 to $1.80 compared to an earlier forecast of $1.55 to $1.60. Comp growth is estimated to be 3.0% to 3.5%. Previously guidance put fiscal year comp growth at 1.0% to 2.0%.

Kohl's Bringing Elle Décor to Home

A new Elle Décor-branded line of contemporary home furnishings will grace 350 Kohl's Corp. units and www.Kohls.com come September.

Kohl's and Lagardère Active have forged a multi-year licensing agreement to expand the existing Elle-branded lifestyle collection into home. The move represents the first time Lagardère has entered into a retail partnership with the Elle Décor brand.

The Elle-branded fashion collection launched at Kohl's in spring 2007 and experienced rapid growth. Elle Decor initially launches with home and domestic products, including decorative pillows, frames, accent items, candles and holders, and small furniture. Prices will range from $9.99 to $149.99.

Jo-Ann 1Q Sales Rise

Jo-Ann Stores reported a 4.4% increase in sales to $460 million. Comps rose 4.1% versus a same-store sales increase of 1.0% for the first quarter last year. Traffic increased 2.9% and average ticket increased 1.2%.

Fabric and sewing notions were the strongest categories. Non-sewing same-store sales increased 3.2% due to growth in core craft merchandise categories and positive same-store sales from seasonal categories.

The company will report full first quarter results May 26.

New ceo at Delia's

New York – Direct marketing retailer Delia's Inc. has promoted chief operating officer Walter Killough to ceo, effective May 14.

He succeeds Robert Bernard, who is stepping down to pursue other opportunities.

Killough joined the company's Alloy division in March 2003 as a consultant, and served as the coo of its Retail and direct consumer division from October 2003 until December 2005. Prior to joining Alloy, Killough was at J.Crew for 14 years, serving as its coo and as an executive vp.

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