August 9, 2004,
Family Dollar opens 44 new stores
Family Dollar Stores, Inc. opened 44 stores during the four-week period ended July 31. The company now operates 5,358 stores.
Family Dollar also reiterated its plan to open about 500 stores during the fiscal year ending Aug. 28, including about 109 stores planned to open in the four weeks ending that same day.
Fred's selects new independent auditor
Fred's, Inc. has named BDO Seidman, LLP, as the company's new independent auditor.
BDO Seidman will service the Fred's account from its Memphis office. The auditor's first task will be a review of Fred's second quarter 2004 results.
Fred's audit committee selected BDO Seidman because of its client-service team and expertise in serving publicly traded retail organizations, stated the company.
Fred's, Inc. operates 550 discount general merchandise stores mainly in the southeastern United States, including 26 franchised Fred's stores.
NRF survey says retail CEOs are optimistic
A short-lived sales slide in June wasn't enough to hamper the outlook of retail CEOs, according to the latest findings of the NRF Executive Opinion Survey, a monthly index by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Seasonal weather, summer clearance sales and the beginning of back-to-school sales helped retailers bounce back last month, stated the NRF. The Retail Sector Performance Index (RSPI) for July moved up 9.5 points from the previous month to 58.
Key survey indicators that read below normal in June, once again showed strength in July, according to the survey. Retail employment took an upswing posting a 10-point gain in July (56.7). Customer traffic (55) also helped boost the July outlook for retail CEOs, stated the NRF.
Overstock buys technology to help with supply chain
Overstock.com has purchased Vcommerce's RetailVantage solution to help manage its online transactions.
Overstock.com expects the software to reduce its transaction costs and increase efficiency in its core online operations, stated the company.
Overstock.com will use Vcommerce's Web-based tools to control and provide visibility into its commerce chain, from catalog management to order fulfillment to returns management.
Penney repositioning capital
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. is planning a major repositioning of its capital structure. The plan, which will utilize the entire net cash proceeds of approximately $3.5 billion from the sale of Eckerd drugstore operations and $1.1 billion of existing cash balances, consists of:
Up to $3 billion for share repurchases, including up to $650 million contingent on the conversion of the company's 5 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2008 to common shares; $2.3 billion for the reduction of outstanding debt; and a $3.4 billion elimination of the present value of Eckerd lease obligations.
Allen Questrom, chairman and CEO, said, "Our management team continues to focus on improving the customer experience as well as operating performance. The steps we are taking today reflect the confidence we have in our business and our commitment to further enhance shareholder value."