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Retail briefs

Wal-Mart, department stores cut forecasts

For the second month in a row, Wal-Mart has scaled back its monthly sales growth forecast, to 3 percent to 4 percent growth from the 4 percent to 6 percent hike the company originally forecast for September.

The company did maintain its earnings guidance for the third quarter, with earnings expected to jump more than 20 percent.

Meanwhile, Federated Department Stores cut its same-store sales estimate for the second time this month, now expecting same-store sales to be flat to up 2 percent. The company said same-store sales for September would be "at best" toward the low end of an earlier forecast 3 percent to 5 percent increase but might fall slightly below that range.

JCPenney also lowered its forecast for September same-store sales at its department stores. The retailer expects sales to fall in the low single-digit percentages. Earlier in the month, the company had projected monthly sales would be flat or up slightly.

Browne joins Bon-Ton board

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. has added Philip Browne as a member of its board of directors, effective Sept. 13. Browne is senior vp and cfo of Advanta Corp., a provider of business credit cards to small businesses. He serves on the board of Advanta Bank Corp., a subsidiary of Advanta, and is director of AF&L Insurance Company, a privately held long-term care and home health care insurance company.

Saks streamlines organizational structure

Saks Inc. announced last week a streamlining of its organizational structure that will result in the elimination of approximately 300 jobs.

Looking to cut expenses, the company plans to consolidate its Younkers home office operations from Des Moines, IA, into its Carson Pirie Scott headquarters in Milwaukee. The consolidation will eliminate nearly 270 jobs at the Younkers home office and some 25 positions in the furniture warehouse and its distribution center in Green Bay, WI.

Merchandising, advertising/marketing and various support functions of the 50-unit division will be absorbed into the Carson Pirie Scott division, which currently operates stores under the Carson Pirie Scott, Boston Store, Bergner's and Herberger's nameplates.

The company said the majority of stores will continue to operate under the Younkers nameplate, with the exception of a few markets where overlap exists and the name may be changed. The consolidation is scheduled for completion in the fiscal fourth quarter ending Feb. 1.

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