Starbucks to serve La Boulange® bakery products starting September 2

Seattle, WA,  2014-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — Starbucks® Pumpkin Spice Latte isn’t the only customer favorite returning to stores this fall.

A trio of bakery items by La Boulange® will be available on September 2.

Pumpkin Scone: Filled with flavors of the season, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, cinnamon and topped with delicious icing.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin: Richly spiced pumpkin muffin topped with a sprinkling of chopped caramelized pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and cream cheese filling.

Washington Apple Pound Cake: A traditional pound cake with fresh roasted apples that have been tossed with sugar and a hint a cinnamon, made with apples from Washington state.

La Boulange® is now available in all Starbucks stores in the U.S. Starbucks completed the rollout of La Boulange food this month (August 2014) ahead of schedule after acquiring La Boulange Bakery in June of 2012.

“I am amazed at what we have accomplished in such a short amount of time,” said Pascal Rigo, founder of La Boulange. “I have talked with a number of customers who tell me they love that a company as big as Starbucks creates products with such high-quality ingredients. It is fantastic that we have achieved this.”

La Boulange® is known for developing wholesome and delicious pastries, breads and sandwiches from scratch using premium ingredients and French baking traditions.

For more information on this news release, contact us.

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Starbucks to serve La Boulange® bakery products starting September 2

Starbucks to serve La Boulange® bakery products starting September 2

Argos gives its Kensington store a ‘digital makeover’

Milton Keynes, UK, 2014-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — Local residents in Kensington can now take advantage of the speed and convenience of online shopping on their local high street, thanks to Argos which has given its Kensington store a ‘digital makeover’.

The store, located on Kensington High Street, was selected from more than 700 Argos stores across the UK, and embraces online shopping while retaining the convenience of a physical store.

Research commissioned by Argos found that nearly half of London shoppers believe that one of the biggest benefits of online shopping is that it offers more choice. However, 65 per cent revealed that they still shop on the high street.1

The revamped ‘paperless’ store has a fresh and contemporary look, with tables of tablets replacing Argos’ traditional laminated catalogues, paper slips and pencils. Customers can use the tablets to browse for products to add to their digital shopping trolley, and access lots of extra product information, including extended ranges, videos, photography and customer reviews.

West End shoppers can benefit from new services such as the ability to browse and pay for goods online at home or on the move for speedy collection from a special Fast Track collection point in store.

Store staff have undergone special training to provide more help to customers on the shop floor using technology. New digital display screens and complimentary WiFi complete the digital transformation.

Argos has been committed to serving customers in Kensington for almost 20 years, having opened the local store in 1995.  It employs 25 workers in the Kensington store.

Domica Thompson, Argos Store Manager for Kensington, said: “Shoppers’ expectations are changing and they want products quickly and easily. We are proud to say that we can give our customers in the local Kensington area access to the things they want in an instant.

“Our local customers have been really positive about the fresh, modern look of the new store, and the introduction of the tablets and digital screens. Our store team have also welcomed the opportunity to learn new skills and be involved with the digital changes.”

Argos found that the changing expectations of customers in London mean value for money is more important than ever, with 71 per cent of shoppers saying they are savvier now than they were five years ago. In addition, 54 per cent admitted to checking the price of an item online before purchasing it.¹

The new digital stores equip Argos for the online revolution, as shoppers increasingly browse and buy online via PCs, tablets and other mobile devices, while still wanting the immediacy of a local store to pick up their purchases. Around 44 per cent of Argos’ total sales now start online. Sales from mobile phones and tablets represent 18 per cent of the total sales. ²

 

-ENDS-

 

Notes to Editors:

1Research conduced on behalf of Argos by Opinion Matters in July 2014.

2Home Retail Group Annual Report 2014

For more information, please contact the Argos Press Office on 0845 120 4365 or email: media.relations@argos.co.uk.  Follow us on Twitter at @argos_PR.

View details about Kensington High Street Argos opening times here: http://www.argos.co.uk/stores/Kensington-High-Street

 

AboutArgos

Argosis a leadingUKdigital retailer, offering around 43,000 products through www.argos.co.uk, its growing mobile channels, stores and over the telephone.

Argoscontinues to be theUK’s largest high street retailer online with around 123m customer transactions a year and 738 million website and app visits in the 12 months to February 2014.  Customers can take advantage of Argos’ convenient Check & Reserve service available through its network of 734 stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

In the financial year to February 2014,Argossales were £4.1 billion and it employed some 29,000 people across the business.

Argos is part of Home Retail Group, theUK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.

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Argos gives its Kensington store a ‘digital makeover’

Argos gives its Kensington store a ‘digital makeover’

Suomen Osuuskauppojen Keskuskunta (SOK) renews its consumer goods trade organisation

Helsinki, Finland, 2014-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — SOK is renewing its consumer goods trade organisation. The related statutory labour negotiations are now completed and, following on from the decisions, the number of employees will be reduced by approximately 110 people. Originally, the estimate was a maximum of 130 people. The organisational reform was triggered by the prolonged economic recession and the concurrent structural change in the trade sector which has especially shaken consumer goods sales.

SOK is eliminating redundancies within the consumer goods and grocery trade sectors and clarifying the areas of responsibility.

“We have dismantled the heavy matrix organisation within consumer goods and rearranged the operations with more focus on customers. SOK has created separate organisations for hardware trade (SOK Hardware Trade: Kodin Terra and S-Rauta chains, S-Yrityspalvelu Oy) and department store and speciality store trade (SOK Department Store and Speciality Store Chain Management: Sokos, Emotion and other speciality store chains). The consumer goods operations of Prisma, S-market and other small outlets have been integrated into the grocery trade operations in a new unit called SOK Food and Consumer Goods”, says Arttu Laine, Executive Vice President at SOK.

The prolonged poor economic situation, the weak development of consumers’ purchasing power, the digitization of trade and the drastic structural change within the sector towards multi-channel services pose major challenges for trade operators, with major effects for the consumer goods trade. For some time, S Group’s consumer goods trade has been unprofitable. The aim of reorganising operations is to boost SOK’s cost-efficiency and profitability and to create synergies between sectors.

“To turn the result trend around, we have to understand our customers better. For instance, within the market business, the rational solution is to operate the Prisma, S-market and other small outlets, under one umbrella. The new model enables us to anticipate changes in demand better and react to them faster”, Laine explains.

The statutory labour negotiations with regard to the reorganisation of SOK’s Consumer Goods trade started on 12 June and concluded on 23 July. The negotiations affected all employees and management of the previous SOK Consumer Goods trade and SOK Grocery trade, a total of approximately 530 people. The number of employees will be reduced by approximately 110 people. Originally, the estimate was a maximum of 130 people.

The statutory labour negotiations did not affect the employees of S-Verkkopalvelut Oy or SOK Marks & Spencer chain management. The negotiations did not affect the other units or companies within SOK or SOK Corporation, such as Inex Partners Oy. Nor did they concern regional cooperatives, their stores or other outlets. The services offered by regional cooperatives to co-op members remain unchanged.

Kristiina Nieminen has been appointed director of SOK Hardware trade (Kodin Terra and S-Rauta chains, S-Yrityspalvelu Oy), Mika Laakso has been named as director of SOK Department Store and Speciality Store Chain Management (Sokos, Emotion and other speciality store chains), and the director of SOK Food and Consumer Goods (Prisma, S-market and small store chains) is nowJukka Ojapelto.

Additional information: Arttu Laine, Executive Vice President, SOK, tel. +358 10 76 810 11.

Sainsbury’s to feature great quality wines between 27th August and 16th September

LONDON, 2014-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — It’s been a busy couple of months keeping the kids entertained over the summer so you’re long overdue for a bit of ‘me’ time. Here, Sainsbury’s highlights some of the great quality wines that are on offer between 27th August and 16th September.

As the routine returns to normal, try a glass of Winemakers’ Selection Gavi. Zesty & Aromatic and priced at only £5.50, down from £6.50, this delicious wine proves that you don’t have to spend a fortune on a good quality wine and is great with a quick and easy tuna salad. Alternatively, if you’re a Sauvignon Blanc fan and fancy trying something different, you can try the elegant flavours of the Taste the Difference Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, reduced from £8.50 to only £6.

Red wine lovers will find the rich and complex Taste the Difference Primitivo del Salento, currently 25% off and reduced from £7.50 down to £5.62, is great with a mid-week meal of spaghetti bolognese. And for that spare moment when you do finally find a chance to relax amongst the chaos, a glass of the smooth WS South Australian Shiraz 75cL, reduced from £6 to only £5, is the final touch for a stress busting bubble bath. Bliss!

Pricing details:

  •  Taste the Difference Primitivo del Salento 75cl, Save 25%: reduced from £7.50 to £5.62 (27/08/14 – 16/09/14)
  •  Taste the Difference Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 75cl, reduced from £8.50 to only £6 (27/08/14 – 16/09/14)
  •  Winemakers’ Selection Gavi 75cl, Save £1: reduced from £6.50 to £5.50 (27/08/14 – 16/09/14)
  •  WS South Australian Shiraz 75cl, reduced from £6 to only £5 (27/08/14 – 16/09/14)

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Sainsbury’s to feature great quality wines between 27th August and 16th September

Sainsbury’s to feature great quality wines between 27th August and 16th September

Belk, Inc., announces operating results for its fiscal second quarter and six months ended August 2, 2014

  • Comparable store sales and net income increase
  • Online sales grow 43.1 percent

CHARLOTTE, N.C., 2014-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — Belk, Inc., the nation’s largest family owned and operated fashion department store company, today announced operating results for its fiscal second quarter and six months ended August 2, 2014.

Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer of Belk, Inc., said, “While the beginning of the quarter was soft, sales trends improved during the quarter with July being the strongest month.  Merchandising margins were higher than last year with lower inventories, which positions the company well for the fall season.  Digital continues to be our fastest growing business.”

Net Sales

Net sales for the 13-week period increased 0.8 percent to $906.5 million compared to the prior-year period. On a comparable store basis, net sales increased 0.6 percent. The best performing merchandise categories during the quarter included children’s shoes, ladies contemporary and better sportswear, juniors and children’s apparel.

The company’s online sales from belk.com increased 43.1 percent for the period and positively affected the company’s comparable store sales by 1.8 percent for the period.

Year-to-date sales increased 0.3 percent to $1.86 billion compared to the same 26-week period last year. On a comparable store sales basis, sales increased 0.2 percent. eCommerce sales grew 42.8 percent for the period, which contributed 1.8 percent of the comparable store sales increase.

Net Income

Second quarter net income increased 0.3 percent to $30.6 million compared to the same prior-year period. Net income excluding non-comparable items totaled $30.0 million compared to $30.9 million in the prior year period. A reconciliation of net income to net income excluding non-comparable items is provided at the end of this release.

Net income year-to-date was $49.9 million compared to $58.7 million for the same 26-week period last year. The decrease was due primarily to higher expense associated with the company’s investments in strategic initiatives. Net income excluding non-comparable items was $49.4 million versus $59.3 million for the same prior-year period.

Belk Expanding Jonesville, S.C. Distribution Center

Belk announced a major expansion of its eCommerce distribution and fulfillment center in Jonesville, S.C. representing a $47 million investment to expand the facility’s footprint by 50 percent and add 20 new jobs.
The expansion, which is expected to be completed in January 2015, will add more than 345,000 square feet of newly constructed space to the 515,000-square-foot building and will include automating the facility and up fitting it with conveyor systems and other equipment. Total employment at the facility is expected to grow to 314 by the end of 2015.

New Stores, Store Expansions and Remodels

Belk opened a new 29,000-square foot home store at Friendly Center in Greensboro, N.C. on July 25, 2014, across the street from its 140,000-square-foot main store, which is undergoing a $9.2 million renovation to create the company’s first flagship store in the Triad area. The store’s grand reopening is set for October 15, 2014.

Belk is also completing flagship store expansion and remodeling projects this fall in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (Mt. Pleasant Town Centre) and Hoover, Ala. (Riverchase Galleria), and will open a new flagship store in Huntsville, Ala. (Bridge Street Town Centre) and a new fashion store in Denham Springs, La. (Juban Crossing), with grand openings set for October 15.

Investments in Strategic Initiatives

Belk has planned investments totaling more than $700 million over a three-year period that began in fiscal 2014 for key strategic initiatives focused on:

  • A comprehensive Omnichannel initiative that will enable Belk to connect seamlessly with customers regardless of where they are, offer multiple ways to provide what they want, enhance their in-store shopping experience, and create more personalized customer interactions;
  • Creating compelling shopping environments and driving sales by investing in a flagship strategy, opening stores in existing and new markets, and expanding and remodeling existing stores and key merchandise departments;
  • Supply chain initiatives that align distribution capabilities to maximize sales and service;
  • Information technology that delivers new business capabilities for growth and profitability; and
  • Excelling in customer service.

About Belk, Inc. 
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. (www.belk.com) is the nation’s largest family owned and operated department store company with 299 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence.  Its belk.com website offers a wide assortment of national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home. Founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., the company is in the third generation of Belk family leadership and has been committed to community involvement since its inception. In the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 2014, the company and its associates, customers and vendors donated more than $20.9 million to communities within Belk market areas.

Belk offers many ways to connect via digital and social media, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google Plus, and provides exclusive offers, fashion updates, sales notifications and coupons via email or mobile phone text messages. Customers can also download the latest Belk mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone or Android.

NOTES:

To provide clarity in measuring Belk’s financial performance, Belk supplements the reporting of its consolidated financial information under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) with the non-GAAP financial measure of “net income excluding non-comparable items.” Belk believes that “net income excluding non-comparable items” is a financial measure that emphasizes the Company’s core ongoing operations and enables investors to focus on period-over-period operating performance. It is among the primary indicators Belk uses in planning and operating the business and forecasting future periods, and Belk believes this measure is an important indicator of recurring operations because it excludes items that may not be indicative of or are unrelated to core operating results. Belk also excludes such items when evaluating company performance in connection with its incentive compensation plans. In addition, this measure provides a better baseline for modeling future earnings expectations and makes it easier to compare Belk’s results with other companies that operate in the same industry. Net income is the most directly comparable GAAP measure. The non-GAAP measure of “net income excluding non-comparable items” should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for GAAP net income.

Certain statements made in this news release, and other written or oral statements made by or on behalf of the Company, may constitute forward-looking statements. Statements regarding future events and developments and the Company’s future performance, as well as our expectations, beliefs, plans, estimates or projections relating to the future, are forward-looking statements. You can identify these forward-looking statements through our use of words such as “may,” “will,” “intend,” “project,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “continue” or other similar words.

Forward-looking statements include information concerning possible or assumed future results from merchandising, marketing and advertising in our stores and through the Internet, general economic conditions, and our ability to be competitive in the retail industry, our ability to execute profitability and efficiency strategies, our ability to execute growth strategies, anticipated benefits from our strategic initiatives to strengthen our merchandising and planning organizations, anticipated benefits from our belk.com website and our eCommerce fulfillment center, the expected benefits of new systems and technology, and the anticipated benefits under our Program Agreement with GE Capital Retail Bank (“GECRB”). These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to differ significantly from the results we discuss in such forward-looking statements.

We believe that these forward-looking statements are reasonable. However, you should not place undue reliance on such statements. Any such forward-looking statements are qualified by the following important risk factors and other risks which may be disclosed from time to time in our filings that could cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted by the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to the date initially made.

Risks and uncertainties that might cause our results to differ from those we project in our forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

• Economic, political and business conditions, nationally and in our market areas, including rates of economic growth, interest rates, inflation or deflation, consumer credit availability, levels of consumer debt and bankruptcies, tax rates and policy, unemployment trends, a health pandemic, catastrophic events, potential acts of terrorism and threats of such acts and other matters that influence consumer confidence and spending;

• Our ability to anticipate the demands of our customers for a wide variety of merchandise and services, including our predictions about the merchandise mix, quality, style, service, convenience and credit availability of our customers;

• Unseasonable and extreme weather conditions in our market areas;

• Seasonal fluctuations in quarterly net income due to the significant portion of our revenues generated during the holiday season in the fourth fiscal quarter and the significant amount of inventory we carry during that time;

• Competition from other department and specialty stores and other retailers, including luxury goods retailers, general merchandise stores, Internet retailers, mail order retailers and off-price and discount stores, in the areas of price, merchandise mix, quality, style, service, convenience, credit availability and advertising;

• Any significant damage to our brand or reputation which could negatively impact sales, diminish customer trust and generate negative sentiment;

• Our ability to prevent a security breach that results in the unauthorized disclosure of Company, employee or customer information;

• Loss of key management or qualified employees or an inability to attract, retain and motivate additional highly skilled employees;

• Our ability to successfully implement our new information technology platform that will impact our primary merchandising, planning and core financial process;

• Our ability to manage multiple significant change initiatives simultaneously;

• Our ability to effectively use advertising, marketing and promotional campaigns to generate high customer traffic in our stores and through online sales;

• Variations in the amount of vendor allowances received;

• Our ability to successfully operate our website, and our fulfillment facilities and manage our social community engagement by providing a broader range of our information online, including current sales promotions and special events;

• Our ability to successfully develop and maintain a relevant and reliable Omnichannel experience for our customers;

• Our ability to find qualified vendors from which to source our merchandise and our ability to access products in a timely and efficient manner from a wide variety of domestic and international vendors; and to deliver in a timely and cost-efficient manner;

• Increases in the price of merchandise, raw materials, fuel and labor or their reduced availability;

• The income we receive from, and the timing of receipt of, payments from GECRB, the operator of our private label credit card business, which depends upon the amount of purchases made through the proprietary credit cards, changes in customers’ credit card use, and GECRB’s ability to extend credit to our customers;

• Our ability to manage our expense structure;

• Our ability to continue to open new stores, or to remodel or expand existing stores, including the availability of existing retail stores or store sites on acceptable terms and our ability to successfully execute our retailing concept in new markets and geographic regions;

• Our ability to manage risks associated with owning and leasing real estate;

• The efficient and effective operation of our distribution network, and information systems to manage sales, distribution, merchandise planning and allocation functions;

• The effectiveness of third parties in managing our outsourced business;

• Changes in federal, state or local laws and regulations; and

• Our ability to comply with debt covenants, which could adversely affect our capital resources, financial condition and liquidity.

For a detailed description of the risks and uncertainties that might cause our results to differ from those we project in our forward-looking statements, we refer you to the section captioned “Risk Factors” in our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 1, 2014 that we filed with the SEC on April 15, 2014. Our other filings with the SEC may contain additional information concerning the risks and uncertainties listed above, and other factors you may wish to consider. Upon request, we will provide copies of these filings to you free of charge.

Our forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and speak only as of the date of such statements.

(Please see attached PDF file to view income statements.)

For further information: Ralph Pitts, Belk, Inc., 704-426-8402, ralph_pitts@belk.com

AHOLD REPURCHASED 1,300,492 AHOLD COMMON SHARES FOR € 16.78 MILLION BETWEEN AUGUST 25 AND AUGUST 29, 2014

Zaandam, the Netherlands, 2014-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — Ahold has repurchased 1,300,492 Ahold common shares in the period from August 25, 2014 up to and including August 29, 2014.

The shares were repurchased at an average price of € 12.8991 per share for a total consideration of € 16.78 million. These repurchases were made as part of the € 500 million share buyback program announced on February 28, 2013 as increased by € 1.5 billion to a total amount of € 2 billion announced on June 4, 2013.

The total number of shares repurchased under this program to date is 131,929,856 common shares for a total consideration of € 1,715.02 million.

During the share buyback program, Ahold publishes a press release every Monday with a weekly update. Click here to view all the relevant information of these these weekly updates. Separate weekly press releases are available upon request. Please send an email to communications@ahold.com if you would like to receive one or more of these weekly releases.

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Philippines: SM Prime Holdings, Inc. upsized its retail bond issue to PHP20 billion due to the strong demand from both retail and institutional investors

Pasay City, Philippines, 2014-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPH) has upsized its retail bond issue to Php20 billion from the initial size of Php15 billion due to the strong demand from both retail and institutional investors. This is SMPH’s maiden offering of retail bonds in the public market. The issue consists of the 5.1000% Series A bonds due 2020, 5.2006% Series B bonds due 2021 and 5.7417% Series C Bonds due 2024.

The bonds were purchased by a wide spectrum of investors ranging from individuals in the retail market to banks, investment funds, pension funds, insurance companies and other corporates. The strong market response prompted the joint issue managers and joint lead underwriters to exercise the company’s oversubscription option. The offer period for the SMPH bonds opened on August 13, 2014 and closed on August 22, 2014. The issue date is on September 1, 2014.

SMPH’s bonds are rated PRS Aaa by Philippine Rating Services Corporation (PhilRatings), the highest rating assigned by PhilRatings. The rating denotes that such obligations are of the highest quality with minimal credit risk, and that the issuing company’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligations is extremely strong.

The joint issue managers and joint bookrunners of the SMPH bonds are BDO Capital & Investment Corporation and First Metro Investment Corporation, which also acted as joint lead underwriters together with BPI Capital Corporation and China Banking Corporation. Land Bank of the Philippines, Philippine Commercial Capital Inc., PNB Capital and Investment Corporation, RCBC Capital Corporation and SB Capital Investment Corp. acted as participating underwriters of the bond issue.

END

For further information, please contact:

Alexander D. Pomento
Vice President for Investor Relations
SM Prime Holdings, Inc.
E-mail: alex.pomento@smprime.com
Tel. #: +63 2 862 7940

Toys“R”Us, Inc reports financial results for the second quarter ended August 2, 2014

Adjusted EBITDA was $81 million for the quarter, an increase of 9.5% compared to the prior year period; Total net sales for the quarter increased by $63 million or 2.7%, driven by comparable store net sales growth of 1.5% domestically and 2.5% internationally

WAYNE, NJ, 2014-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — Toys“R”Us, Inc. today reported financial results for the second quarter ended August 2, 2014.

Antonio Urcelay, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Toys“R”Us, Inc., said, “We are pleased with the improvement in our Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter as we continue to take the prudent and necessary steps to strengthen the foundation of our business.  For the second consecutive quarter, we have delivered positive comparable store net sales results in both our U.S. and International segments.  We believe our International business as a whole has begun to rebound after several years of market weakness, with net sales increases in Japan and the United Kingdom among others.  Our business in China and Southeast Asia remains strong, and we continue our expansion in this region of the world.”

Mr. Urcelay continued, “During the second quarter, we completed the inventory clearance effort in our U.S. stores which began at the start of the fiscal year.  While this resulted in a decline in margin rate in the interim, we believe it has significantly improved the overall health of our inventory and has us well-positioned for the influx of hot new products as we approach the holiday selling season.  The actions we have taken during the first half of the year in implementing our “TRU Transformation” strategy, including strengthening our in-stock position, optimizing our inventory, implementing a clearer pricing strategy and simplifying promotions, should result in a much-improved shopping experience for our customers in the important months ahead.”

Second Quarter Highlights

  • Consolidated net sales were $2.4 billion, an increase of 2.7% versus the prior year period.  Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation which increased net sales by $7 million, the Company experienced an improvement in net sales of $56 million or 2.4%.  The growth was primarily a result of an increase in comparable store net sales in both the Domestic and International segments and new stores in the International segment.
  • Domestic comparable store net sales were up 1.5% primarily driven by increases in the core toy, learning and entertainment (which includes electronics, video game hardware and software) categories.  International comparable store net sales were up 2.5% primarily due to increases in the core toy, learning and seasonal categories.
  • Gross margin dollars were $916 million, compared to $920 million for the prior year period, a decrease of $4 million.  Foreign currency translation increased gross margin dollars by $4 million.  Gross margin, as a percentage of net sales, was 37.5%, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points versus the prior year period.  The reduction was primarily attributable to Domestic margin rate decline resulting from an incremental $19 million loss on previously identified clearance inventory.  The International segment had an increase in gross margin dollars of $21 million while gross margin, as a percentage of net sales, decreased by 0.2 percentage points versus the prior year period.
  • Selling, general and administrative expenses (“SG&A”) were $878 million, compared to $890 million in the prior year, a decrease of $12 million.  Foreign currency translation increased SG&A by $4 million.  Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, the reduction in SG&A was primarily due to a $20 million decrease in legal expenses related to a prior year adverse litigation judgment and $7 million in favorable insurance claim settlements in the current year related to property losses, partially offset by a $6 million increase in occupancy costs, predominantly as a result of an increase in new stores in the International segment and an increase in common area maintenance expenses.
  • Adjusted EBITDA1 was $81 million, compared to $74 million in the prior year, an increase of $7 million or 9.5%.
  • Operating loss was $42 million, compared to an operating loss of $46 million in the prior year.  Domestic segment operating earnings were $25 million lower primarily due to the inventory clearance efforts, while the International segment operating performance improved by $14 million primarily due to higher gross margin dollars, partially offset by an increase in SG&A.  Corporate expenses were $15 million lower resulting from the reduction in legal expenses mentioned above.
  • Net loss was $148 million, compared to a net loss of $113 million in the prior year primarily due to a net increase in income taxes of $52 million as the Company concluded in the third quarter of fiscal 2013 that it is more likely than not that a benefit for losses in the U.S. and certain foreign jurisdictions will not be realized in the foreseeable future.  This was partially offset by reductions in interest expense of $14 million.

Liquidity and Capital Spending

The Company ended the second quarter with $1.2 billion of liquidity, which included cash and cash equivalents of $353 million and unused availability under committed lines of credit of $823 million.

Through the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company invested $86 million primarily for improvements to information technology and logistics systems and capabilities, store-related projects and opening of new stores, compared to $110 million in the prior year.

Further information regarding the Company’s financial performance in the second quarter of fiscal 2014 will be presented in its quarterly report on Form 10-Q, which the Company plans to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or about September 10, 2014.

1 A detailed description and reconciliation of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA, and management’s reasons for using these measures, are set forth at the end of this press release.

About Toys“R”Us, Inc.
Toys“R”Us, Inc. is the world’s leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands.  Merchandise is sold in 877 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, and in more than 710 international stores and over 190 licensed stores in 35 foreign countries and jurisdictions.  In addition, it exclusively operates the legendary FAO Schwarz brand and sells extraordinary toys in the brand’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites includingToysrus.com, Babiesrus.com, eToys.com and FAO.com, it provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products.  Headquartered in Wayne, NJ, Toys“R”Us, Inc. employs approximately 70,000 associates annually worldwide.  The Company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need.  Additional information about Toys“R”Us, Inc. can be found on Toysrusinc.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
All statements that are not historical facts in this press release, including statements about our beliefs or expectations, are forward-looking statements.  These statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including, among others, the seasonality of our business, competition in the retail industry, changes in our product distribution mix and distribution channels, general economic factors in the United States and other countries in which we conduct our business, consumer spending patterns, our ability to implement our strategy including implementing initiatives for season, the availability of adequate financing, access to trade credit, changes in consumer preferences, changes in employment legislation, our dependence on key vendors for our merchandise, political and other developments associated with our international operations, costs of goods that we sell, labor costs, transportation costs, domestic and international events affecting the delivery of toys and other products to our stores, product safety issues including product recalls, the existence of adverse litigation, changes in laws that impact our business, our substantial level of indebtedness and related debt-service obligations, restrictions imposed by covenants in our debt agreements and other risks, uncertainties and factors set forth in our reports and documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (which reports and documents should be read in conjunction with this press release).  In addition, we typically earn a disproportionate part of our annual operating earnings in the fourth quarter as a result of seasonal buying patterns and these buying patterns are difficult to forecast with certainty.  We believe that all forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions when made; however, we caution that it is impossible to predict actual results or outcomes or the effects of risks, uncertainties or other factors on anticipated results or outcomes and that, accordingly, one should not place undue reliance on these statements.  Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they were made, and we undertake no obligation to update these statements in light of subsequent events or developments unless required by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules and regulations.  Actual results and outcomes may differ materially from anticipated results or outcomes discussed in any forward-looking statement.

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For more information please contact: 

Lenders and Note Investors:

John D’Ambrosio, Manager, Corporate Treasury at 973-617-5913 or John.D’Ambrosio@toysrus.com

Media:

Kathleen Waugh, Vice President, Corporate Communications at 973-617-5888, 646-366-8823 or waughk@toysrus.com

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets

(1)    Prior year excludes the effect of an out of period adjustment. Previously reported comparable store net sales were (3.5)% and (6.0)% for the thirteen and twenty-six weeks ended August 3, 2013, respectively.
(2)    Consists primarily of non-product related revenues.
(3)    Consists primarily of licensing fees from unaffiliated third parties and other non-product related revenues.

Non-GAAP Disclosure of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA

We believe Adjusted EBITDA is useful to investors because it is frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties in the evaluation of companies in our industry.  Investors of the Company regularly request Adjusted EBITDA as a supplemental analytical measure to, and in conjunction with, the Company’s GAAP financial data.  We understand that investors use Adjusted EBITDA, among other things, to assess our period-to-period operating performance and to gain insight into the manner in which management analyzes operating performance.

In addition, we believe that Adjusted EBITDA is useful in evaluating our operating performance compared to that of other companies in our industry because the calculation of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA generally eliminates the effects of financing and income taxes and the accounting effects of capital spending and acquisitions, which items may vary for different companies for reasons unrelated to overall operating performance.  We use the non-GAAP financial measures for planning and forecasting and measuring results against the forecast and in certain cases we use similar measures for bonus targets for certain of our employees.  Using several measures to evaluate the business allows us and investors to assess our relative performance against our competitors.

Although we believe that Adjusted EBITDA can make an evaluation of our operating performance more consistent because it removes items that do not reflect our core operations, other companies, even in the same industry, may define Adjusted EBITDA differently than we do.  As a result, it may be difficult to use Adjusted EBITDA or similarly named non-GAAP measures that other companies may use to compare the performance of those companies to our performance.  The Company does not, and investors should not, place undue reliance on EBITDA or Adjusted EBITDA as measures of operating performance.

A reconciliation of Net loss attributable to Toys “R” Us, Inc. to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA for Toys“R”Us, Inc. is as follows:

A reconciliation of Net loss attributable to Toys “R” Us, Inc. to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA for Toys“R”Us, Inc.

A reconciliation of Net loss to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA for Toys“R”Us – Delaware, Inc. is as follows:

A reconciliation of Net loss to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA for Toys“R”Us - Delaware, Inc.

(a)   Represents the fees expensed to Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., and Vornado Realty Trust (collectively, the “Sponsors”) in accordance with the advisory agreement.
(b)   Represents litigation expenses recognized in fiscal 2013 related to the judgment in the Aleo v. SLB Toys USA, Inc. case.
(c)   Asset impairments primarily due to the identification of underperforming stores and the relocation of certain stores.
(d)   Represents the incremental compensation expense related to certain one-time awards, net of forfeitures of certain officers’ awards.  Commencing in the second quarter of fiscal 2014, we have revised our definition of Adjusted EBITDA to include the impact of forfeitures of certain officers’ awards and have therefore revised our prior year’s Adjusted EBITDA.
(e)   Represents property losses and insurance claims recognized.
(f)    Represents an incremental loss on previously identified clearance inventory.
(g)   Represents miscellaneous other charges which were not individually significant for separate disclosure.
(h)   Adjusted EBITDA is defined as EBITDA (earnings before net interest income (expense), income tax expense (benefit), depreciation and amortization), as further adjusted to exclude the effects of certain income and expense items that management believes make it more difficult to assess the Company’s actual operating performance including certain items which are generally non-recurring.  We have historically excluded the impact of such items from internal performance assessments.  We believe that excluding items such as Sponsors’ management and advisory fees, asset impairment charges, restructuring charges, impact of litigation, noncontrolling interest, net gains on sales of properties and other charges, helps investors compare our operating performance with our results in prior periods.  We believe it is appropriate to exclude these items as they are not related to ongoing operating performance and, therefore, limit comparability between periods and between us and similar companies.
(i)    The primary differences between consolidated Toys“R”Us, Inc. Adjusted EBITDA and Toys“R”Us – Delaware, Inc. Adjusted EBITDA are the exclusion of the results of International operations (with the exception of Toys“R”Us – Canada), as well as the inclusion of rent expense payable by Toys“R”Us – Delaware, Inc. to Toys“R”Us Property Company I, LLC (pursuant to a master lease agreement) and income from license fees charged by Toys“R”Us – Delaware, Inc. to foreign affiliates for use of intellectual property.