J. CREW SOARS: J. Crew Group more than doubled its net income, to $17.6 million from $6.9 million, in the quarter ended Feb. 3. Sales for the 14 weeks were $286.7 million, 9.3 percent higher than the $262.2 million registered during the 13-week prior-year quarter. For the full year, the retailer and direct marketer of apparel and footwear returned to profitability, logging $11.9 million in net income versus a $6.6 million net loss in the prior year. Including the extra week in the most recent year, sales rose 10 percent to $826 million from $750.7 million. Same-store sales rose 4.9 percent in the quarter and 1.7 percent in the year.
VALUEVISION DEAL: Clothing that’s just a click of a remote control away? That’s the service that will be piped into WebTV, AOLTV, and Microsoft’s UltimateTV, among other platforms, through a deal announced by ValueVision International, the Minneapolis-based home shopping network that has just acquired NBC’s Enhanced Broadcast Group. The group will continue to combine interactive shopping with NBC shows, including “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” and sporting events such as the French Open and the LPGA.
CHINA WOES: Two dozen House members, angry over the continued detention of a U.S. spy plane by the Chinese, introduced a bill Wednesday that would revoke China’s most favored nation status.
China’s trade status and the annual debate to renew it has always proved touchy, but the current stalemate is helping to fuel controversy. The trade status gives China the same favorable tariffs given to most U.S. trading partners.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.), a longstanding opponent of granting China normal trade status, is the lead sponsor of the bill.