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Retail briefs

JCPenney sales led by home

In a recent conference call discussing the second quarter performance, Vanessa Castagna, chairman and ceo of JCPenney stores, catalog and Internet said that home was a leader in the department store's merchandise groups paced by the expanded housewares department, bed, bath and window areas. Gross margins in the stores, overall, improved and the quarter ended with lower-than-planned inventories.

For the catalog/Internet side of the business, home outperformed the balance of the merchandise divisions, Castagna said. Catalog sales, which dropped 21.4 percent for the quarter, are expected to turn up by mid-2003, Castagna reported. The catalog division, she added, is looking to new media and specialty catalogs and will add back some clearance media. Looking to the third quarter, the company expects a 1 percent to 2 percent comp-store sales improvement.

Kmart makes more cuts

Kmart announced last week that it is making cuts that will whack $130 million in annual costs, eliminating 680 positions in the process, including some senior merchant roles. Kmart will lay off approximately 400 positions at corporate headquarters and another 50 involved in corporate support elsewhere in the country. It also will eliminate some 100 open positions and phase out close to 130 contract positions. The company said cuts would not affect stores or DCs.

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