H&M REPORTS: Hennes & Mauritz reported Monday that its sales in November accelerated 14 percent thanks to store openings. The Swedish fast-fashion giant said same-store revenues inched up 1 percent versus November 2006. For its full fiscal year ended Nov. 30, H&M’s sales increased 17 percent, or 5 percent on a same-store basis. H&M said it had 1,522 doors as of Nov. 30 compared with 1,345 in the year-ago period.
GOTTSCHALKS’ WIDER LOSS: Gottschalks Inc. widened its loss in the third-quarter to $4.1 million, or 30 cents a diluted share, from a loss of $2.7 million, or 17 cents, last year. Sales for the quarter declined 7 percent to $137.4 million from $147.9 million, while same-store sales fell 5.1 percent. The company sited difficulty in its California stores due to home mortgages impacting the consumer. Gottschalks expects fourth-quarter earnings in the range of 40 cents to 50 cents a diluted share.
TALMAGE TAPPED FOR SOLSTICE: Safilo Group has appointed Rick Talmage as chief operating officer of Solstice Marketing Concepts, a privately held subsidiary of the global eyewear manufacturer. Talmage was previously vice president of retail development and global e-commerce at Tumi. He will oversee Solstice’s day-to-day operations and growth of its two luxury sunwear specialty chains: Solstice Sunglass Boutique and Sunsights by Solstice, as well as Solstice Sunglass Outlet stores. He joins the firm on Jan. 7 and will report to Claudio Gottardi, chief executive officer of Safilo Group and Solstice Marketing Concepts.
FARM BILL PASSED: The Senate passed a $286 billion farm bill last week Friday by a vote of 79 to 14, that reestablishes some federal subsidies for textile mills and maintains subsidy programs for cotton farmers. The House passed a farm bill in July and the two must now be reconciled and sent to President Bush to sign. Bush has threatened to veto the bill, saying it is too expensive and doesn’t go far enough in cutting subsidy programs. Brazil won a World Trade Organization case against U.S. cotton subsidy programs three years ago by arguing they were illegal and cost its farmers $600 million in lost sales. The U.S. abolished a key farm program that provided $2.4 billion worth of subsidies, but a WTO panel recently ruled the U.S. did not go far enough. Pending appeal, Brazil could have the right to retaliate with as much as $1 billion a year in sanctions.