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Retail briefs

Home stars for Dillard's in 1Q

Home was one of the star performers at Dillard's during the first quarter, ceo Bill Dillard said during the company's investor call last week. Dillard's reported its second consecutive quarter of noticeable improvement, and gross margin in home improved during the first quarter by 200 basis points. Dillard noted that the consolidation of home merchandising into one office, a process that began in September 2000, is complete and that the new home merchandising division in Arlington, TX, is now in full operation. The home department also has stepped up the ratio of private label in its mix, Dillard said. Its home brands — Noble Excellence, Nobility and Main Ingredients — now account for 27 percent of the mix vs. 17 percent in last year's first quarter.

May Co. to lay off approximately 1,800

As part of the its recently announced plan to consolidate several divisions, May Department Stores said it would lay off approximately 600 employees from the Meier & Frank corporate offices in Portland, OR, and approximately 1,200 from the Kaufmann's corporate offices in Pittsburgh. Earlier this month, May said it would combine its Kaufmann's and Filene's divisions in the Northeast and its Robinsons-May and Meier & Frank divisions in the West and Northwest.

Gottschalks appoints Czech director

Gottschalks has announced the appointment of James Czech to its board of directors. He is currently president of Development Group of Urban Retail Properties Co., the nation's largest third-party retail property management company, according to that company, a position he has held since October 1993. From October 1993 through November 2000, he was also executive vp of Urban Shopping Centers, a publicly traded company. Previous positions include president, Development Group of JMB Retail Properties Co., and senior vp and cfo of Federated Stores Realty Inc., the shopping subsidiary of Federated Department Stores.

Federated to add Rich's in western Atlanta

Federated continues to grow its Rich's store portfolio with last week's announcement that it has signed a letter of intent to construct a new unit in western Atlanta. The new store, pending approval by Federated's board of directors, will be a two-level, full-line department store of 140,000 square feet, excluding furniture. Construction is slated to begin in late 2003 with a store opening projected for fall 2004. Federated's Rich's/ Lazarus/Goldmsith's division currently operates 77 stores throughout the central and southeastern United States.

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