Retail Briefs

Elder-Beerman Helps Bon-Ton Numbers

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. reported that third quarter total sales climbed — thanks in part to its Elder-Beerman acquisition — over the same period last year.

Total sales increased 65.1 percent to $297.8 million, including $137.7 million from the acquired Elder-Beerman stores, compared to $180.4 million for the same period in 2003. The store's comparable-store sales during the period decreased 3.1 percent. Elder-Beerman sales are not included in the company's comparable-store sales.

James Baireuther, vice chairman and chief administrative officer, said, “Bon-Ton stores were adversely impacted by a shift of a major sales event from October last year to November this year. For the month, shoes, accessories, misses career and moderate sportswear, women's and home textiles reflected sales increases.”

Third quarter 2004 results will be released Nov. 18.

Weak Month Hurts Pier 1 Third Quarter

After experiencing poor results in October, Pier 1 Imports Inc. has revised comparable store sales for the third quarter and November to hit the negative mid-single-digit range.

In addition, diluted earnings per share for the third quarter are now projected to be in a range of 24 to 29 cents, “based on current sales projections, and a continuation of the promotional environment,” explained Marvin Girouard, chairman and CEO.

“Business was difficult in October as store traffic remained weak and average ticket was flat compared to last year,” he explained. “Also, merchandise margins were pressured due to increased promotional activity.”

Cost Plus Rallies at End of Quarter

Helped by strong sales during the last weeks of the third quarter, Cost Plus Inc. experienced a 12 percent rise in total sales for the period over last year.

Total sales for the quarter that ended Oct. 30 reached $190.4 million, from $170 million for the same period last year. “Although we continued to experience inconsistent traffic patterns in our stores, we are gratified by customer response to advertising and promotional efforts designed to stimulate sales during the last two weeks of the period,” said Murray Dashe, chairman, president and CEO. “We noticed particular strength in the furniture, beverage, floor coverings, basket and bedding departments.”

Cost Plus has plans of increasing its EPS guidance for the quarter to approximately 1 to 2 cents per diluted share, compared to most recent guidance of $0.00 per diluted share. The company will report its third quarter results Nov. 19.

Saks Closing Two Parisians in Alabama

Saks Incorporated will close its 130,000-square-foot Eastwood Mall Parisian store at the end of January 2005 and 129,000-square-foot Western Hills Parisian store in mid-March 2005, both located in Birmingham.

George Jones, president and CEO of Saks Department Store Group, commented, “The planned closing of the Eastwood and Western Hills locations is consistent with our strategy of rationalizing our real estate portfolio to focus our resources on our most productive units.”

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