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PRSM Weekly
April 4, 2009  
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Retail has Strongest Week in Three Months
from The Tampa Tribune
Retail recently had its best week since the beginning of December and analysts think the strong showing is a "good omen" heading into the spring season. For the week ending March 28, overall sales improved by 1.1 percent compared to a week earlier, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs. More

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A Ray of Light
from Internet Retailer
Amid the storm clouds, sales are up, showing the value of running with new ideas and sweating the details. The fourth quarter holiday shopping season is make or break time for retailers, and for Best Buy the 2008 holiday season brought an extra dose of good cheer—for the company’s e-commerce operations. While comp store sales fell 6.6 percent for the fiscal month ended Jan. 3, online sales surged 34 percent over the year-earlier period. More

Retail Group Wants to Appeal Shoe Tax
from ABC Action News
The National Retail Federation says it has asked Congress to pass legislation that would eliminate tariffs on a wide range of low-cost imported shoes, saying the measure would save shoppers an estimated $800 million a year collected under a 70-year-old "shoe tax." The National Retail Federation is calling it the "Affordable Footwear Act." More

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Dollar Stores Thrive in Weak Economy
from Jacksonville Business Journal
While other retailers have lost income and market share, Dollar Tree Inc. and other dollar store-type retailers are gaining and expanding. Dollar Tree’s 20-year lease for the Jacksonville Beach space, which is expected to open sometime this summer, is one of 210 new stores the company expects to open during its fiscal 2009 along with 50 to 90 that will be remodeled or relocated. "We’re very excited that we’re able to grow," said Dollar Tree spokeswoman Shelly Davis."“We are relevant for the times. Who doesn't like to save money?" More

Going Topless
from Shopping Centers Today
Outdoor centers are a natural fit for retail developers in temperate climes, where sunny, lushly landscaped and pedestrian-friendly projects tend to score a hit with shoppers, retailers and local officials alike. But in places where the weather turns extreme, even if only for a few months out of the year, moving forward with an open-air project can be a tough call. More

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Penney, Kohl's Get Extra Encouragement as Retail Stocks Surge
from The Wall Street Journal
On a strong day for retail stocks, J.C. Penney Corp. and Kohl's Corp. are receiving an extra boost from positive comments - and big target price increases - by Deutsche Bank, which sees the department stores significantly benefiting from "up-for-grabs" sales. J.C. Penney's shares are headed to $24 from Deutsche Bank's prior $18 target, and Kohl's stock is looking at $53, a rise from $43, said Bill Dreher, the firm's retail analyst. J.C. Penney shares were recently trading at $22.93, up 6.6 percent, or $1.35. Kohl's stock is ahead $1.51, or 3.5 percent, to $45.07. More

High-tech Line Busting
from STORES Magazine
It is hard enough to get shoppers into stores these days, but no merchant wants to delay their time getting out, either. Many retailers are seeking ways to speed checkout lines as a route to enhanced customer service; this, in turn, is fueling the growth of queue management, the science of managing waiting times and checkouts. More

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Guess Shares Rise on Fourth-quarter Results
from The Associated Press via Forbes
Shares of Guess Inc. rose after the apparel maker and retailer reported a strong fourth quarter despite a difficult retail environment. The Los Angeles company said profit for the fourth-quarter fell, but adjusted results beat analyst expectations, helped by a revenue boost. Revenue rose 9 percent to $561.1 million, ahead of the $528.6 million analysts predicted. More

Prada May Reorganize Debt to Fund New Stores as Sales Suffer
from Bloomberg
Prada SpA’s owners may ask banks to reorganize 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) of debt, freeing cash to open new stores and promote the luxury label’s brands in the recession, two people with knowledge of the plans said. Sales at stores open at least a year fell in 2008, reducing Prada’s cash on hand, while earnings declined as fixed costs rose, the people said. The Milan-based company may ask for some debt payment deadlines to be extended, they said, asking not to be identified because the plans are confidential. More

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Darden Restaurants Cites Improved Cost Controls
from Reuters
Darden Restaurants Inc. said it expects declining commodity costs and savings from its acquisition of RARE Hospitality to aid results in the current year, and its shares were up more than 15 percent. The company posted better-than-expected third quarter profit and raised its fiscal 2009 sales growth and earnings forecast. It also said consumers grappling with the recession returned to its restaurants in January and February after sales slumped in December. More

American Project & Repair

Check Out Line: Gov’t Stimulus May Only Help Some Retailers
from Reuters
The U.S. government’s $787 billion emergency economic stimulus, passed into law in February, aims to create or protect up to 3.5 million jobs while putting more money in consumers’ hands in the hope that they will spend it and boost the economy. Despite a consumer benefit of roughly $200 billion, the 2009 stimulus will likely only result in about $30 billion to $50 billion in retail sales, said Morgan Stanley analyst Gregory Melich. And those most likely to see it are value-oriented retailers that sell consumer necessities, he said. More

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Look Out, H&M − Britain's Topshop Invades New York
from Time magazine
Not since the opening of Fiorucci in the 1970s or Reminiscence in the 1980s has a fast-fashion retail brand made such a splash in Manhattan. Model Kate Moss recently joined Arcadia Group chairman Sir Philip Green to cut the ribbon on British retail chain Topshop's long-awaited U.S. debut, at Broadway and Broome Street in SoHo. Originally scheduled to hit the Big Apple last fall, the delayed flagship opening comes at a time when other relatively inexpensive fashion brands like H&M and Zara are reporting declining sales figures. More

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