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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On February 28, 2024, it was reported, retail giant TJX reported $16.4 billion in sales for the 14-week fourth quarter, an increase of 13% over the 13-week quarter last year. Net income for the quarter was $1.4 billion and diluted earnings per share were $1.22, up 37% from last year. For the full 53-week year, net sales were $54.2 billion, an increase of 9% from the 52-week fiscal year 2023. Consolidated comparable store sales rose 5% for both the quarter and year. In the company's HomeGoods segment, net sales rose 16% for the quarter and 9% for the year. Pretax profit margin for the quarter was 11.2%, up 2% from last year. The company said this was above its plan, attributing "a higher merchandise margin as well as expense leverage on the above-plan sales." Higher merchandise margin included a larger-than-expected benefit from lower inventory shrink expense, lower freight costs, lower markdowns and better markon. Pretax profit margin for the year was 11%, up 1.7% from last year. The company ended the year with $5.6 billion in cash. Looking toward the first quarter of 2025, the company predicts comparable store sales to rise 2% to 3% and pretax profit margin of around 10.5%. For the full year 2025, it also predicts comparable store sales to rise 2% to 3%, with pretax profit margin between 10.9% and 11%.
    • On February 27, 2024, it was reported, pressured categories led lease-to-own retailer The Aaron's Company Inc. to lower revenues in the fourth quarter of FY2023, although it did come out slightly ahead for the full year. The Atlanta-based company, which owns Aaron's and BrandsMart, reported net revenues of $529.5 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, 2023, down 10.2% compared with year-ago revenues of $598.6 million. It posted a net loss of $12.4 million, or 41 cents per diluted share in the quarter vs. a loss of $5.9 million, or 19 cents per share in Q4 2022. The company noted that the 10.2% decrease in consolidated revenues was primarily due to lower lease revenues and fees at the Aaron's business and lower retail sales at BrandsMart, while the net loss included restructuring charges of $2.8 million, intangible amortization expense of $2.5 million, stock compensation expense of $3 million, and BrandsMart acquisition-related costs of $0.6 million. "In response to ongoing pressure in our key product categories at Aaron's and BrandsMart during 2023, we took strong actions to drive demand and reduce costs," said CEO Douglas Lindsay. For the full fiscal year, Aaron's reported revenues of $2.139 billion, a 4.9% decrease against $2.249 billion in 2022. It posted net earnings of $2.8 million, or 9 cents per diluted share, reversing a loss of $5.3 million, or 17 cents per diluted share in 2022. As 2024 continues, The Aaron's Company's guidance includes $2.055 billion to $2.155 billion in revenues for the year, with an earnings range of break-even to a $12 million loss.
    • On February 27, 2024, it was reported, as part of a transformation plan unveiled Tuesday, Macy's said it will shutter 150 underperforming locations over the next three years, with 50 closing this year alone. At the same time, Macy's Inc. will open 15 Bloomingdale's stores, at least 30 Bluemercury stores and 30 small-format, off-mall stores. Macy's Inc. also reported a Q4 net sales decline of 1.7% year over year to $8.1 billion, with store comps (including concessions) down 4.2% year over year. By banner, Macy's comps fell 4.7%, Bloomingdale's fell 1.6% and Bluemercury rose 2.3%. Gross margin expanded to 37.5% from 34.1% a year ago, with merchandise margin up 260 basis points, mostly due to lower clearance markdowns. The company swung into the red with a $71 million net loss, from $508 million in net income a year ago. However, the company's Q4 performance was overshadowed by its announcement of "A Bold New Chapter," centered on a core Macy's fleet of 350 stores, the growth of smaller formats at both Macy's and Bloomingdale's, and a private-label refreshment at Macy's. A planned expansion of Bloomingdale's and Bluemercury represents a bet on luxury, a departure from a previous focus on expanding the Macy's Backstage off-price operation. The new strategy comes on the heels of Macy's rejection of a $5.8 billion take-private bid, widely seen as a push to monetize its extensive real estate holdings. Macy's now operates 12 small formats and plans 30 more in the next two years, including 12 this year, Spring told analysts. Over the next three years, the company expects store-monetization proceeds of about $500 million to $650 million and asset sale gains of about $250 million to $350 million, according to Spring.
    • On February 23, 2024, it was reported, while its sales for the fourth quarter and full year weren't on 2022 levels, Top 100 retailer Havertys recorded greater profit over both in its most recent earnings report. For the three months ended Dec. 31, the Atlanta-based retailer totaled $210.7 million in sales, down 24.91% from $280.6 million for the same quarter in 2022, but its gross profits as a percentage of sales in the quarter was 62.4% compared with 57% in the fourth quarter of 2022. Net income in the quarter totaled $15 milllion, or 90 cents per diluted share, a decrease of 36.71% vs. net income of $23.7 million, or $1.42 per diluted share, in the same quarter of 2022. For the entire fiscal year, Havertys recorded $862.1 million in sales, down 17.68% compared with $1.047 billion over the course of 2022. However, its gross profit as a percentage of sales for 2023 stood at 60.7% vs. 57.7% in 2022. Havertys' net income for FY2023 totaled $56.3 million, or $3.36 per diluted share, a decrease of 37.02% compared with $89.4 million in net income, or $5.24 per diluted share, in FY2022. For 2024, Havertys expects planned capital expenditures of approximately $32 million and for retail square footage to grow 2.8% as it opens five stores and closes one. Smith said officials remain resolved and see opportunities ahead.