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Retail Briefs

Delia's Grows Sales, Cuts Loss

Delia's Inc., the apparel and home accessories retailer targeting the tweener market, parlayed stronger sales, wider margins and lower costs into a sharply narrowed first-quarter loss of $1.2 million, improving on a year-ago deficit of $12.5 million when the chain was awash in red ink spilled by discontinued operations. Sales were up 16.1%, to $51.9 million.

Federated Sells Strawbridge's Store

Federated Department Stores has sold the Strawbridge's at the Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, N.J., to Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust. The 262,000-square-foot store, opened in 1961, is among 80 duplicate sites slated for sale as a result of the May Co. acquisition. Federated has now announced buyers for 56 of its 80 duplicate locations.

Burlington Coat Posts Solid Results

Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corp. reported fourth-quarter net sales of $829.4 million, up 9.6% from a year ago. In the fiscal year ending June 3, net sales were $3.449 billion, up 8.8%. Comp-store sales in May rose 0.4%, quarterlies were up 0.6%, full-year comps rose 4.3%. About 10% of the volume – more than $300 million – is in soft home.

Neiman Marcus Has Record Margins

Neiman Marcus Group reported third-quarter operating margins of 14.7% of sales, a record for the luxury retailer. Sales were $1.0 billion, up 6.8% from the same period a year ago. Store comps were up 5.7%. Jim Skinner, senior vp and cfo, said online sales were brisk, noting 67% of Bergdorf Goodman e-commerce came from outside metro New York, which “shows the power of the brand.”

Pier 1 Fights Slump with Newness

Pier 1 Imports reported a first-quarter net loss of $23.2 million or $0.27 per share, a year-to-year 3.6% drop in sales to $376.1 million, and a comp slump of 6.6%. Chairman and ceo Marvin Girouard said the 1,266-store specialty retailer's brand repositioning campaign, its new Modern Craftsman line, and Urban Spaces catalog will yield results. While costs climbed to 39.2% of sales, Girouard pointed to margins of 53.8%.

Retailer Comps Near June Target

Retailers reported comp sales up 3.0% in the second week of June, after a 3.3% gain during the first week, the Johnson Redbook Index reported. Month-to-date comps were up 3.1% vs. June 2005, just lagging the target of 3.2%. Comps were 1.8% over May, barely shy of the 1.9% target.

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