Luckily this industry is not taking as great of a hit as many other retail institutions. The retail apparel and home fashion business is highly competitive. What might be the purpose of highlight statements? We count each of the stores in the combo or superstore format as a separate store. Short-term investments, foreign currency exchange contracts and diesel fuel contracts are valued using broker quotations, which include observable market information. Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. We focus aggressively on expenses throughout our business. Actual amounts could differ from those estimates, and such differences could be material.
In addition, an Associate, contractor or third party with whom we work or to whom we outsource business operations may fail to monitor their or our systems effectively, may fail to maintain appropriate safeguards, may misuse the personal or confidential information to which they have access, may attempt to circumvent our security measures in order to access or misappropriate such types of information, may purposefully or inadvertently allow unauthorized access to our systems or to personal or confidential information or may otherwise disrupt our business operations. Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, HomeGoods from 2008 until 2012. Management reported that holiday comp-store sales increased 5. Under the new guidance, goodwill F-14 impairment is to be measured as the amount by which the carrying value exceeds the fair value of the reporting unit. Both chains sell family apparel including footwear and accessories , home fashions including home basics, accent furniture, lamps, rugs, wall décor, decorative accessories and giftware and other merchandise. Value means more than price to T.
We have a large workforce, and our ability to meet our labor needs and control labor costs is subject to various factors such as unemployment levels; prevailing wage rates and benefit levels, minimum wage laws and benefits requirements and other market pressures on wages and benefits; changing demographics; economic conditions; interest rate changes; economic, demographic and other actuarial assumptions; the costs of providing and managing retirement, health and other employee benefits, including health and insurance costs; and a dynamic regulatory environment, including health care legislation, immigration law and policy, and governmental labor, employment and employee benefits programs and requirements. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks, uncertainties and potentially inaccurate assumptions. We offer a treasure hunt shopping experience and a rapid turn of inventories relative to traditional retailers. We have a significant retail presence in Canada and in countries in Europe and operate buying offices around the world. As a result, adverse or unseasonable weather could adversely affect our sales, increase markdowns, impact customer satisfaction and adversely affect our operating results. Investments, in general, are exposed to various risks, such as interest rate, credit, and overall market volatility risks.
As a result, we are able to leverage our expertise throughout our business, sharing information, best practices, initiatives and new ideas, and to develop talent across our Company. The brand is more upmarket than its Canadian namesake. These risks may increase as we continue to grow, particularly if we expand into additional countries. Additionally, we routinely enter into inventory-related derivative instruments a hedging strategy to mitigate the impact of currency exchange rates on merchandise margins of merchandise purchases by our segments denominated in currencies other than their local currencies. Maxx also offers womens shoes and fine jewelry, while Marshalls also offers a full-line shoe department and a larger mens department. Senior Executive Vice President, Group President from August 2008 to January 2011. Maxx and Marshalls sell quality brand name merchandise at prices generally 20%-60% below department and specialty store regular prices.
Damage to the reputation of our company and our banners could result in declines in customer loyalty and sales; affect our vendor relationships, business development opportunities and Associate retention; divert attention and resources from management, including to respond to inquiries or additional regulatory scrutiny; and otherwise adversely affect our results. The changes in fair value of these contracts are recorded in selling, general and administrative expenses and are offset by marking the underlying item to fair value in the same period. With over 3,000 stores today, we see the potential to expand our store base by over 50%, up to almost 4,800 stores, with our current chains in our current markets alone. The assumed rate of compensation increase for participants eligible for the alternative benefit under the unfunded plan is the same rate as assumed for the funded plan. The changes in fair value of these contracts are recorded in selling, general and administrative expenses and are offset by marking the underlying item to fair value in the same period. As a result of the lump sum payout the Company re-measured the funded status of its pension plan as of September 30, 2016.
The Company has not yet determined the timing for adoption or estimated the effect on the Companys financial statements. We believe this developing business offers us the long-term opportunity to open over 1,000 A. Our goal is to create a sense of excitement and urgency for our customers and encourage frequent customer visits. The decline comes despite the issuance of in-line forward guidance today, as the worry surrounding Macy's affects the entire industry group. Wright stores average approximately 26,000 square feet.
Wright stores offer branded family apparel, accessories, shoes, domestics, giftware and special situation purchases. Each of our segments has its own management, administrative, buying and merchandising organization and distribution network. Additionally, our distribution network is designed to run cost effectively. Similar to other retailers, we face challenges in securing and retaining sufficient talent in management and other key areas for many reasons, including competition in the retail industry and for talent in various geographic markets. Our full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workforce supports the execution of our flexible off-price business model, including the timing and frequency of store deliveries and the management of a rapidly changing mix of store inventory in over 4,000 retail stores in nine countries. Merchandise margin was flat for fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017.
We do not generally engage in promotional pricing activity such as sales or coupons. Sierra Trading Post launched its e-commerce site, sierratradingpost. As our business is subject to seasonal influences, a decrease in sales or margins, a severe disruption or other significant event that impacts our business during the second half of the year could have a disproportionately adverse effect on our operating results. See rankings and related performance below. We expect to make an accounting policy election that will keep leases with a term of 12 months or less off the balance sheet and result in recognizing those lease payments on a straight-line basis over the lease term. Maxx Australian Capital Territory 2 New South Wales 13 Queensland 16 Victoria 7 Total Stores 38 Competition. Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller from 2007 to 2009 and Senior Vice President, Director of Finance, Marmaxx, from 2000 to 2007.
Various governmental authorities in the jurisdictions where we do business regulate the quality and safety of the merchandise we sell to consumers. The unrecognized gains and losses in excess of 10% of the projected benefit obligation are amortized over the average remaining service life of participants. The combined organization, known as The Marmaxx Group, offers us increased leverage to purchase merchandise at favorable prices and allows us to operate with a lower cost structure. Goodwill and tradenames with an indefinite life are tested for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that an impairment may have occurred and at least annually in the fourth quarter of each fiscal year. Scott Goldenberg 64 Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since April 2014; Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from January 2012 to April 2014. The new standard will require a change in the presentation of our sales return reserve on the balance sheet, which we currently record net of the value of returned merchandise. owned Charlotte, North Carolina 595,000 s.