KMART EXITS EUROPE: Kmart Corp. has agreed to sell its 13 stores in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to Tesco PLC, a major British retailer, for about $117.5 million.
Sales at the stores have been improving, and the operations are expected to show a profit for 1995, Kmart said. It did not disclose specific results.
The discounter said it wants to focus on core operations in the United States and North America.
“Longer term, we expect there will be greater international growth opportunities for Kmart in Mexico, Central and South America,” Floyd Hall, chairman and chief executive officer of the Troy, Mich.-based retailer, added.
Completion of the sale, which is expected in April, may be subject to regulatory approvals.
ON TARGET IN FEBRUARY: Target, the discount division of Dayton Hudson Corp., is expected to lead major discounters with a February same-store sales increase of 8 to 9 percent, according to analysts. Most retailers report February sales on Thursday.
Once again, analysts expect Kmart’s U.S. discount units to report stronger same-store sales than rival Wal-Mart’s. Analysts expect Kmart to report a same-store gain of 6 percent for February, compared with Wal-Mart’s projected 4 to 5 percent increase. Spurred by heavy promoting, Kmart’s same-store sales also topped Wal-Mart’s in January and December.
Sam’s Clubs, the membership warehouse division of Wal-Mart, is expected to report flat same-store sales.
CLOSEOUT KING: Consolidated Stores Corp., the largest closeout retailer in the U.S., has racked up its sixth consecutive year of double-digit sales and earnings gains.
The Columbus, Ohio-based retailer said that earnings in the year ended Feb. 3 rose 16.6 percent to $64.4 million, or $1.32 a share, from $55.2 million, or $1.15. Sales climbed 17.4 percent to $1.5 billion from $1.2 billion, while same-store sales rose 4.3 percent.
Beating Wall Street estimates of per-share earnings by one cent, Consolidated reported fourth-quarter profits rose 11.5 percent to $42.5 million, or 87 cents a share, from $38.1 million, or 79 cents a year ago. Sales for the quarter gained 17.7 percent to $524.6 million from $445.5 million. Same-store sales were up 1.4 percent.
Consolidated operates 861 closeout stores, including Odd Lots/Big Lots, Itzadeal and All for One/It’s Really $1.
PROTECTING ITS TURF: Carrefour, one of Brazil’s largest retailers, expects to open 12 hypermarkets in the Sao Paulo area over the next four years, including three units later this year.
The move follows Wal-Mart’s debut in Brazil last year with two supercenters and two Sam’s Clubs.
A spokesman for French-owned Carrefour, which operates 13 of its 38 Brazilian hypermarkets near Sao Paulo, denied any connection between the planned expansion and Wal-Mart’s move into Brazil.
“We see Wal-Mart as just one more competitor,” the spokesman said, noting that Sao Paulo’s dense population of 20 million people is an attractive market.
Carrefour’s annual sales in Brazil total about $3.6 billion.
AMES LOOKS AHEAD: In a statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission late last month, Ames Department Stores projected annual sales of $2.14 billion for the year ending Jan. 25, 1997, and net income of $16.5 million.
Ames has not reported full-year 1995 results, but the 307-unit chain had a volume of $2.14 billion and income of $17 million in 1994. As reported, the Rocky Hill, Conn.-based discounter plans to close 17 underperforming stores by mid-March.
Separately, Ames opened a 54,000-square-foot store in Lowell, Mass., last week in a former Stuarts Department Store. Stuarts liquidated last year.