KOHL’S MONEY CHIEF: Arlene Meier has been named chief financial officer and senior vice president of Kohl’s Corp. She assumes her new post Oct. 1.

Meier will succeed Jules Allen, senior vice president, chief financial officer and a director, who will retire in October.

Meier joined Kohl’s in 1989 as vice president and controller and was recently promoted to vice president of finance. Tim Brophey, formerly with Caldor Corp., has joined Kohl’s to take over Meier’s spot as vice president and controller.

The company said that it will fill Allen’s place on the board, but no appointment has been made.

Kohl’s is headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wis.

FRED KEEPS UP: Fred Meyer Inc. reported second-quarter earnings rose 13.2 percent on a 9.3 percent rise in sales.

For the quarter ended Aug. 13, earnings were $19.2 million, or 67 cents a share, slightly below Wall Street estimates of 69 cents, from $17 million, or 60 cents a year ago.

Sales totaled $737.3 million from $674.7 million, and same-store sales gained 1.4 percent.

Robert G. Miller, chairman, and chief executive officer of the Portland, Ore., retailer, said the company faced difficult comparisons in the quarter, owing to strong sales in seasonal and garden merchandise and food categories a year ago.

He added that the latest quarter was hurt by continued economic slowdown in the Seattle area and a competitive Alaska market.

Apparel was “up slightly,” according to a spokesman, but not a strong performer.

Gross margins increased 7.1 percent in the quarter due to lower inflation, stronger sales in higher-margin categories and fewer markdowns. Expenses were up about 9.7 percent, reflecting costs related to two store openings. They were offset in part by lower store occupancy costs and sales promotion expenses.

Looking ahead, the discounter said third-quarter results will be hurt by a labor dispute in the Portland area that began on Aug. 18, affecting 26 stores, and a labor dispute at its distribution center, plants and trucking operations.

Fred Meyer operates 101 discount stores and 24 smaller specialty stores.

ON THE SHELF: ‘Tis the season for shelf registrations.

Last week, Wal-Mart and Venture Stores each registered for the future sale of securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Wal-Mart filed for $500 million in debt securities, bringing its total shelf to $2 billion. Proceeds from the offering will be used to repay short-term debt for purchase of land and store construction, and for working capital.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. are the underwriters.

Venture filed for $150 million in debt securities, common shares, preferred shares and warrants. In its SEC filing, the discounter said revenues from the offer will be used for general purposes, which might include new store expansion, remodeling of existing stores and the repayment of debt.

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