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Retail Briefs

Sears and Kmart Launch Christmas Club Card

Sears and Kmart are bringing back the Christmas Club savings concept through the launch of a card that will allow consumers to put away money for holiday shopping.

The card will earn a 3% reward up to a maximum of $100 based upon the card's value on Nov. 14. Cards can be activated between now and Oct. 31 at Sears and Kmart stores or online at www.sears.com/christmasclub or www.kmart.com/christmasclub. The start-up minimum is $5.

Walmart.com Marketplace Takes a Page from Amazon

Walmart.com has added nearly one million new items to its site through alliances with other online retailers that sell home, baby, apparel, toys and sporting goods /sports memorabilia.

The company says it plans to add additional retailers in the coming 12 months. CSN Stores (www.csnstores.com) is Walmart.com's partner in home, and its textiles selection is limited to area rugs. Orders are placed through Walmart's site, and the discounter will handle customer service, shipping, handling, exchanges and returns.

Neiman Marcus Reports Steep Comp Drop and Fiscal Year Loss

With the luxury sector hard hit by the financial sector's meltdown since the beginning of its fiscal year, Neiman Marcus reported a full-year loss of $220.4 million compared to a profit of $83.8 million last year.

For the year ended Aug. 1, sales dropped 20.9% to $3.64 billion, while comps plunged 21.4%.

"Fiscal year 2009 was a very challenging year for our company. We quickly began addressing the many challenges we faced due to the sharp decline in our business, precipitated by the downturn in the economy," said Burton Tansky, chairman and ceo. "We tightly managed our expenses, resulting in a total reduction of $183 million, which included the elimination of approximately $100 million of non-variable costs from our expense structure this year."

The fourth quarter saw a wider loss of $168.5 million compared to a loss of $35.6 million in last year's fourth quarter. Sales fell 25.4% to $768.0 million, with comps down 23.4%.

New NRF/Shop.org Event Focuses on Ecommerce

The National Retail Federation has created a new educational seminar integrating online marketing and technology. The first Retail Innovation and Marketing Conference will take place March 2–4, 2010 in San Francisco.

"By launching this event, NRF takes a leadership role in bringing ecommerce, marketing and technology retail executives together — critical retail disciplines that too frequently operate in silos," said Scott Silverman, executive director of the NRF division Shop.org.

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