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Retail Briefs

TJX: Price Increases are Good

TJX Companies’ chief told analysts last week that higher merchandise prices are ultimately good for the top line.

“There’s a lot of talk about cotton prices and wool prices,” said president and ceo Carol Meyrowitz. “Any price increase is beneficial to us in terms of tickets going up.”

She noted that pricing has been largely deflationary over the past decade.

Target Doesn’t Expect Pricier Merch until Spring 2011

Target’s chief merchant told analysts during the company’s conference call last week that the retailer doesn’t expect more expensive goods to arrive at retail until spring 2011.

“There are costing pressures coming through – on cotton, on paper, copper, synthetic fabrics,” said Kathy Tesija, executive vp, merchandising.

More expensive merchandise would arrive at the earliest in late fall “if we start chasing products,” she said.

She said Target will have to decide whether to pass along cost increases or restructure the products.

Williams-Sonoma Maneuvering to Offset Higher Costs

Williams-Sonoma Inc. is working with vendors to address rising raw material costs, but is heavily focused on creating cost savings in other areas to balance overhead.

“We are cognizant that we have an uphill battle on costs, particularly out of Asia,” said Laura Alber, who will step into the ceo role this week upon the retirement of Howard Lester. “It is a real issue.”

The company engaged in a packaging initiative to reduce over-packaging. It has in-sourced its hubs for regional ships and has already reduced cartons by 9%. Headquarters will move into a new building, and call centers are now doing outbound calls to generate sales.

Stein Mart: Price Quotes Higher on Fall Goods

Price quotes are starting to “creep up” on fall merchandise, particularly on goods made from cotton, Stein Mart’s chief told analysts during the company’s quarterly conference call last week.

“We’re hearing 5% to 10%, and we’ll see how that manifests itself as we go forward,” said David Stovall Jr.

He did not elaborate on how Stein Mart would address rising raw material costs.

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