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Share of sales from Shop Your Way members grows as Q4 2013 comps have fallen, Kmart parent company says

BY Alaric DeArment

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Kmart’s same-store sales have taken a tumble this quarter as its parent company says it is continuing to focus on transforming itself into a retailer focused on members of its loyalty card program.

Sears Holdings said that comps at Kmart fell by 5.7% during the nine-week period that ended Monday, while year-to-date comps as the mass merchandise retailer declined by 3.7%. Meanwhile, Sears U.S. stores had comp declines of 9.2% and 4.2% during the same period, for total declines in both chains of 7.4% and 3.9%. Sears’ Canadian stores reported a quarter-to-date 4.4% decline in comps. Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter is expected to be between negative $65 million and $65 million, compared with $429 million in the fourth quarter last year, while the company expects to have a quarterly loss of $250 million to $360 million, and a fiscal 2013 loss of $811-914 million. The company’s fourth quarter 2013 ends on Feb. 1.

The company said it was making progress toward becoming a "member-centric integrated retailer" through the Shop Your Way loyalty program, with 69% of sales during the quarter so far coming from members, compared with 58% during the same period last year.

 

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Walgreens declares regular quarterly dividend of 31.5 cents per share, a 14.5% increase

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The board of directors of Walgreens on Thursday declared a regular quarterly dividend of 31.5 cents per share, a 14.5% increase over the year-ago dividend. 

The dividend is payable March 12, 2014, to shareholders of record on Feb. 18, 2014.

Walgreens has paid a dividend in 325 straight quarters (more than 81 years) and has raised its dividend for 38 consecutive years. Over the last five years, Walgreens annual dividend rate has increased from 45 cents per share to $1.26 per share, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of nearly 23%.

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Target lowers Q4 guidance as it uncovers additional data stolen during breach

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Customers’ mailing addresses, names, phone numbers and email addresses were among the data stolen as part of a massive breach of payment card data at Target, the mass merchandise retailer said Friday.

Target said the information stolen, affecting as many as 70 million people, was not a new breach, but was uncovered as part of the investigation of the original breach, which took place between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 and resulted in the theft of payment card data from about 40 million customers.

The retailer said much of the data stolen is incomplete, but it will seek to contact customers whose email addresses were stolen with information on avoiding scams.

The breach has also forced the chain to lower its U.S. segment guidance for fourth quarter 2013, from $1.50-$1.60 per share to $1.20-$1.30, due to a 2.5% decline in comps. That decline resulted from stronger-than-expected fourth quarter sales before the Dec. 19 announcement of the breach and weaker-than-expected sales since then, and the company expects a 2-6% decline in comps for the remainder of the quarter despite an improvement in recent days. The company also anticipates charges related to the breach, such as card resistance costs, investigative and consulting fees, payments to card networks and others.

"In light of the recent data breach, our top priority is taking care of our guests and helping them feel confident in shopping at Target," EVP and CFO John Mulligan said. "At the same time, we remain keenly focused on driving profitable top-line growth and investing our resources to deliver superior financial results over time."

 

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