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Retail briefs

Duncan Done as ShopKo Chief

ShopKo Stores, Inc. President and CEO Sam Duncan resigned to assume a similar position at OfficeMax. An interim president and CEO is expected to be named soon. ShopKo recently signed an agreement to be acquired by a Minneapolis-based private equity firm. At that time, Duncan indicated he would not remain with the company.

NRF Revises 2005 Outlook

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is predicting that sales of furniture and home furnishings will soften as mortgage rates rise and housing becomes less affordable. It also revised its 2005 sales forecast based on stronger-than-expected first quarter sales and the inclusion of new merchandise categories. NRF now anticipates retail industry sales will increase 4.8 percent during 2005.

Study: Cash Beats Wedding Registries

Only one in three wedding guests chooses to purchase a gift from the couple's registry, according to a recent report from The NPD Group that examined the experiences of brides and wedding guests. The report found that 41 percent of wedding guests choose to give cash to newlyweds. Overall, the registry is capturing 33 percent of wedding and 35 percent of shower purchases. Another 10 percent of wedding guests and 12 percent of shower guests use the registry as a guide, while remaining guests make their own decisions about what to give.

Target debuts home book

Target has launched its first home catalog direct mail piece, which was also inserted in copies of The New York Times. The 52-page, untitled publication presents cross-merchandised vignettes grouped according to one of Target's five lifestyles: contemporary, global, classic, casual and modern. Encouraging more multi-channel shopping, the book calls out each sku that is also available at target.com. Some items are available only online. The book's final spread — which highlights furniture — drives home with the headline: “target.complement your style.”

Costco Lowers 3Q Expectations

Costco lowered its outlook for the third quarter ending May 8 from 47 cents, to between 41 and 43 cents per share. During an analysts call, the company said the majority of the change was related to lower profitability in its gas business. Costco expects fourth quarter EPS between 63 and 67 cents, and fiscal year yearnings between $1.98 and $2.04.

Garden Ridge Bankruptcy Hearing Set

Garden Ridge's confirmation hearing is scheduled for April 28. The retailer recently reported a 7 percent increase in March comp sales over last year. The company further stated that product gross margin slightly increased for the same period.

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