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Friday, June 5, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Thursday focus: Shopping life

Earnings reports Tuesday show that shoppers continue to hunt for bargains.

Saks Inc. says cost-cutting left it with a smaller loss than expected in the first quarter, but demand remains weak for its luxury offerings.

And discounter TJX Cos. earned 8 percent more than a year earlier as shoppers took advantage of bargains.

Saks, which operates Saks Fifth Avenue, reiterated its weak sales outlook and is pressing for more cuts.

TJX, which operates TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, said its profit in the current quarter could beat Wall Street estimates.

TJX said it will open 85 new stores this year, 15 to 20 more than it originally planned, and test the market in Poland by opening three new stores there.

Saks expects to cut expenses by about $60 million this year across most of the business, and the company announced some salary reductions Tuesday.

“Saks and TJX are the perfect metaphor of what has been going on in the market for the last year,” said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC. “Consumers are focusing on necessities and value. … It makes no sense to go to Saks or Neiman Marcus to pay top dollar for a brand name in this environment.”

Cracking down on shoplifting: Professional shoplifting rings are making partners of fierce retail competitors that previously kept losses to themselves.

J.C. Penney and Target, Gap and Pacific Sunwear, Wal-Mart and Home Depot share information and team up on stakeouts. Loss prevention investigative teams from Walgreen and CVS use the same radio frequencies and stay at the same hotels. Driving this unlikely cooperation is a growing awareness that chains are getting hit by the same modern-day bands of thieves, called boosters. They blend in with shoppers but end up costing stores billions of dollars.

As retailers collaborate, they’re getting the attention of local police and prosecutors. When stores tally hundreds of thousands of dollars and deliver surveillance evidence showing they were hit by the same people, authorities take notice.

Cargo theft and fraud, including stolen or cloned credit cards used to buy merchandise or create fake receipts to return shoplifted items, amount to as much as $30 billion a year, according to FBI and industry estimates.

From wire reports

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