NEW YORK - Saks Inc. returned to profitability in its
fiscal fourth quarter as the department store chain sold more items
at full-price and used fewer promotions.
The New York company reported net income of $25 million, or 14
cents per share, for the period ended Jan. 29. That compares with a
loss of $4.6 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier.
Adjusted earnings were 13 cents per share. Analysts expected
adjusted earnings of 6 cents per share.
Revenue rose 7 percent to $866.3 million, topping Wall Street's
estimate of $854.4 million.
The parent company of upscale Saks Fifth Avenue and off-price
Off 5th stores said Wednesday that revenue at stores open at least
a year climbed 8.4 percent.
Last week competitor Nordstrom Inc. reported its fourth-quarter
earnings climbed, partly helped by a holiday rebound in full-price
NEW YORK - Saks Inc. returned to profitability in its
WASHINGTON - The House Budget Committee chairman says
Republicans don't want to see the government shut down in a fight
with President Barack Obama over spending priorities.
Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan also tells ABC's "Good Morning
America" the GOP doesn't want to "rubber stamp" spending
policies it opposes just to keep the government running.
Ryan says "we obviously don't want to see a shutdown occur" if
lawmakers can't agree on a short-term spending bill by a March 4
deadline. He said Obama "punted" on confronting the deficit.
Asked what Republicans would do differently,, Ryan said lawmakers
must not exempt benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare
from cuts. Ryan said that if Republicans "ignore the drivers of
our debt, which are these entitlement programs, then we are no
better than the president."
The online coupon site Groupon.com and flower company FTD Group Inc. are offering refunds after getting complaints that a Valentine's Day flower deal wasn't so sweet.
Both companies said they didn't do anything wrong, but they responded to Internet complaints that FTD inflated prices for some Groupon customers who used a coupon for $20 off an FTD flower purchase of $40 or more.
The problem surfaced when several Groupon customers found the flowers they bought were priced lower as sale items on FTD's own website. They complained on the Groupon site and the Internet that FTD was making up for the Groupon discount by jacking up the prices.
But FTD Group Inc. President Rob Apatoff said in an interview on Sunday that wasn't the case. He said it was clear on the sites that the coupon didn't apply to sale items.
Still, Apatoff said the Downers Grove, Ill., company will credit the customers' accounts to give them the sale price, even if they don't ask for it. Both companies also say they will make full refunds if people aren't satisfied.
"At no time did we inflate any prices. Absolutely not," Apatoff said.
"Because there was some confusion with a few, we decided to step up and do the right thing to make sure everybody was happy."
Even with the higher price on the Groupon site, Groupon customers always got a better deal with the $20 coupon than buying from the FTD site, Apatoff said. Discounts on the FTD site were $5 to $10 lower than the price on the Groupon site, he said.
Groupon Inc. officials started seeing the complaints on Thursday and contacted FTD about the problem, Groupon.com President Rob Solomon said on Sunday. Together, they decided to credit the accounts of people who bought the sale items through Groupon, giving them the difference between the sale price and the price that was on the Groupon site, he said. The companies also put the FTD sale prices on the Groupon site, he said.
"To make this right, we've worked with FTD to make sure that your Groupon can be used on any item with the sale price," Solomon said.
Both companies said "tens of thousands" of people bought FTD flowers through the Groupon site, but Solomon estimated that only a few hundred bought the sale items and would get the credit to their charge accounts.
At any given time, five to 17 items of the 500 on the FTD site are on sale, Apatoff said.
Groupon has people who monitor Internet prices on coupon items to make sure there are no discrepancies, and they catch differences in most cases, Solomon said. He called the FTD case a rare exception.
The problem is the second time in a week in which Internet complaints forced Groupon to change course. The company pulled television ads less than a week after they first aired during the Super Bowl when they were criticized on Facebook and Twitter.
In one of the commercials, actor Timothy Hutton says "the people in Tibet are in trouble, their culture is in jeopardy," as pictures of Tibet are shown on the screen. The punch line? It turns out he's talking about a fish curry deal Groupon offered.
"We hate that we offended people, and we're very sorry that we did - it's the last thing we wanted," co-founder Andrew Mason said in a posting on the company's site.
NEW YORK- The era of falling clothing prices is ending.
Clothing prices have dropped for a decade as tame inflation and cheap overseas labor helped hold down costs. Retailers and clothing makers cut frills and experimented with fabric blends to cut prices during the recession.
But as the world economy recovers and demand for goods rises, a surge in labor and raw materials costs is squeezing retailers and manufacturers who have run out of ways to pare costs.
Cotton has more than doubled in price over the past year, hitting all-time highs. The price of other synthetic fabrics has jumped roughly 50 percent as demand for alternatives and blends has risen.
Some analysts say clothing prices will rise about 10 percent in coming months.
Consumer advocates like MSNBC.com's Bob Sullivan love it.
"The debit card system is an idea whose time has come for issuing tax returns," he says.
The Treasury Department is asking a specific group of about 800,000 taxpayers to participate in the debit card experiment this year.
"They tend to be low to moderate income, and we're pretty sure that many of them do not have bank accounts," says Assistant Treasury Secretary Richard Gregg.
That last point is key.
Officials estimate ten-million taxpayers don't have bank accounts and often fall prey to predatory pay-day lenders or others who charge exorbitant fees just for cashing a check.
"Pretty soon those companies will no longer be able to take money from families that can't cash their IRS checks," says Sullivan.
The Treasury Department plans to mail the card and load it electronically as soon as the return is approved, making it ready immediately for retail and other use.
"You can also go to an ATM, use it on the web, just like any other card," says Gregg.
The benefit for other taxpayers is the $40-million a year the Treasury Department can save by not having to print so many checks.
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