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After Home Depot reported on a successful fourth fiscal quarter a day earlier, Lowe’s said its quarterly comps showed a 5.2% same-store gain with an increase in customer traffic. Marketwatch comments that although Americans have cut back spending in other retail categories such as apparel and electronics, people seem to be willing to spend on refurbishing their homes……Target had a 2.1% same-store gain in the fourth fiscal quarter and saw the fifth straight quarter of increased traffic. Profit rose as revenue slipped, both factors partially due to Target’s sale of its pharmacy and clinic business……Noting sales were particularly weak on the Southern border and energy-producing regions, Dillard’s reported fourth fiscal quarter same-store sales down 2%, with profit down more than 35%. The chain consists of 273 Dillard’s locations and 24 clearance centers in 29 states……Still hoping to get government approval to be taken over by Staples, Office Depot had flat comps in the fourth quarter, although some of that was due to having closed many stores earlier. A total of 181 were closed last year, with some of those stores’ business shifting to remaining locations……In automotive retailing, Sonic quarterly new-vehicle sales were up 1.4% and used-vehicle sales rose 6.9%, helping to produce a 19% gain in profit. Sonic’s EchoPark used-only secondary chain is still only in the Denver market, but the company expects to move into at least two different markets by the end of the year……Discount grocer Aldi already operates almost 1500 stores in 32 states, but until now none have been in California. The first in the Golden State are now set to open in the L.A. market next month, with 45 expected in the state before the end of the year. By the end of 2018, Aldi expects to approach the 2000 mark nationally……Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen had a domestic 5.7% same-store sales increase in the fourth quarter after opening a record 219 new restaurants during the year. Another 115-135 stores should open in the U.S. this year……Texas Roadhouse is another restaurant chain that had a good quarter, although the same-store gain of 4.5% at company-owned units was actually lower than in prior quarters. 29 units were added during the year, with another 30 in the pipeline for this year……Another restaurant looking to expand is Fazoli’s, and Convenience Store News reports c-stores are of particular interest to the Italian food chain. Recently taken over by Sentinel Capital Partners, Fazoli’s has 123 company-owned units and 91 franchised locations, with only eight of them currently in c-stores……7-Eleven is adding soda to its 7-Select private label line; the drinks are made with cane sugar and natural flavors.

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