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Retail Briefs

BJ's Profits Off as Sales Climb

BJ's Wholesale Club saw first-quarter income fall 11.0% to $13.7 million, as sales rose 7.5% to $2.0 billion; comp club sales were up 2.3%. Frank Forward, cfo, said excluding gasoline sales, store traffic was down about 1% but the average transaction was up about 3%. Full year earnings are projected at $1.60 - $1.70 per share. Comps are targeted for 3% to 4% for the full year.

Ikea Opens Big in Utah

The Salt Lake City suburb of Draper, Utah celebrated the May 23 grand opening of a 310,000-square-foot Ikea store, with store manager Paul Janzen hosting a traditional Swedish log-sawing ceremony to bring good luck. The 255th store worldwide, this Ikea is the 30th in the United States – marking a doubling of the store base since 2003. The Draper store will offer 51 room-settings and three model homes "reflecting a variety of living situations," the company said.

Sears Holdings Taps MPG Agency

Sears Holdings has chosen MPG, the U.S.-based media arm of global agency Havas, as its new media planning and buying media services agency of record. MPG's contract will cover all consumer outreach in all media for the Sears and Kmart brands. Sears Holdings' media planning and buying services were previously handled by MindShare and MEC Interaction.

Bombay Company in Limbo

Home furnishings specialty retailer The Bombay Company said its stock could be de-listed by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), as the share price and market capitalization have fallen below the NYSE required minimums ($1 per share for 30 consecutive days, and $75 million, respectively). The Bombay Company also said that its previously retained "strategic alternatives" agent, William Blair & Co., has received non-binding offers to purchase Bombay. A new $10 million loan facility was also announced, along with a first quarter net loss of $15.4 million, a sales drop of 11.9% to $104.6 million, and negative comps of 10.2%.

Kirkland's Aims for Turnaround

Home décor specialty chain Kirkland's reported negative first-quarter news, but talked up its planned turnaround. Catherine David, president and coo, pointed to aggressive buys in such product lines as wall décor and textiles during the quarter, but acknowledged, "We didn't drive those categories …. didn't buy enough to capitalize" on the enthusiastic reception by shoppers. Robert Alderson, ceo, said the 347-store company is in the midst of rebuilding its merchandising and operations staff into a "deeper, more talented team," but said results would not be felt in the second quarter. Kirkland's posted a quarterly net loss of $7.5 million, as sales fell 11.1% to $82.3 million, while comps were off a disheartening 18.8%.

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