UPDATE 2-Hudson's Bay CEO says best opportunities at Canadian arm

Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:11pm EDT
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By Solarina Ho

April 11 (Reuters) - Hudson's Bay Co's chief executive said on Thursday that the best opportunities for the 343-year-old company are at its namesake Canadian department store chain.

The company, which owns two of the most venerable names in department stores - Hudson's Bay in Canada and Lord & Taylor in the United States, has seen its stock tumble 12 percent since its listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange in November.

"It seems we have greater opportunity at Hudson's Bay than we do at Lord and Taylor," said CEO Richard Baker in an interview. "There's so much for us in Canada."

Baker spoke on Thursday after the company posted fourth quarter earnings, reporting that same-store sales rose 6.1 percent at the company's Canadian stores, but fell 2.9 percent in the United States as superstorm Sandy hampered sales at Lord & Taylor.

The company also expects slower sales growth this year compared with last year.

The chief executive is facing a big challenge convincing investors about the company's growth prospects, especially as much-anticipated U.S. competitors such as Target Corp and Nordstrom Inc make splashy entrances into Canada.

Baker told analysts during a conference call on Thursday that it was too early to draw any meaningful conclusions from Target's official opening last week.   Continued...