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Retail Briefs

HSNi Trims Cost, Produces 2Q Profit

Through cost cutting and inventory control, HSNi swung to a second-quarter profit of $13.6 million following a $249.8 million loss in the year-ago period.

Luxury and home sales remain weak, executives said during last week's quarterly conference call, but there were signs of improvement in the Cornerstone catalog/internet division, particularly at Ballard's, Garnet Hill and Travel Smith. Chief executive officer Mindy Grossman characterized the Home Shopping Network's recent rollout of textiles, furniture, rugs, accessories and lighting by designer Carleton Varney as "a great success."

For the quarter ended June 30, total sales fell 8% to $640.1 million. HSN sales declined 1% to $454.2 million while the Cornerstone division's sales dropped 21% to $185.9 million.

Grossman said the company's best customers had decreased spending slightly, and the company has broadened HSN's mix and focused on more products priced under $50.

Kohl's Raises 2Q Expectations

With tighter inventories and strong comp increases in home, accessories and footwear, Kohl's today raised its earning guidance to 73 cent to 74 cents per share for the second quarter ended Aug. 2. The company had originally projected earnings of 56 cents to 64 cents per share.

"July sales again exceeded our expectations," said Kevin Mansell, president and ceo. "As a result of our sales results and inventory management initiatives, our gross margin for the quarter was strong and our expenses remained well controlled."

The company will report full results Aug. 13.

Ross Stores Expects 2Q Earnings to Beat Estimates

Ross Stores predicted its second quarter earnings will beat Wall Street's estimate of 74 cents per share. Citing lower freight costs and higher margins, the company today said it expects earning per share to jump 50% to 52% to 81 cents to 82 cents per share, compared to 54 cents last year for the quarter ended Aug. 1.

Williams-Sonoma Inks Partnership to Open Stores in the Middle East

Williams-Sonoma Inc. has entered into a multi-year franchise agreement with international retail franchise operator M.H. Alshaya Co. W.L.L. to launch its six-nameplate portfolio of brands in the Middle East.

The first four stores are expected to open in Dubai and Kuwait in 2010 and will include the Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids brands.

M.H. Alshaya Co. works with more than 50 global retail brands and operates more than 1,700 stores across six divisions, with stores in 16 markets across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, Cyprus, Russia and Poland. The company is the retail business segment of the Alshaya Group, which was founded in Kuwait in 1890 and also operates real estate, hotel and automotive business divisions.

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