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Ace Hardware Announces Exec Changes

BY CSA STAFF

Oak Brook, Ill. Ace Hardware Corp. has appointed Rick Affolter to serve as VP of finance, and has promoted Rick Whitson to VP of retail support.

Affolter will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Ace’s finance department and will oversee the company’s controller, tax director and director of financial planning and analysis. He joins Ace from HD Supply, Inc., a wholesale distributor of construction and maintenance products.

Whitson, which has been with Ace Hardware for 29 years, will direct activities at Ace’s 14 retail distribution support centers and six cross dock facilities. Most recently, he served as director of retail support and engineering, for which he will continue to provide leadership.

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Blockbuster to sell Live Nation tickets

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS and LOS ANGELES Blockbuster has signed a three-year agreement with Live Nation to become the exclusive physical retail ticket outlet for Live Nation Ticketing, Live Nation’s new in-house ticketing company, beginning with the start of the 2009 concert season.

Under the agreement, Live Nation will sell its retail tickets exclusively through approximately 500 Blockbuster company-owned stores in strategically chosen markets across the country that mirror Live Nation’s concert venue platform footprint.

The selected stores will offer exclusive blocks of tickets available only at Blockbuster during the first four hours of ticket sales, as well as general ticketing as long as supplies last. Blockbuster will be responsible for managing and operating all aspects of the ticket transactional experience.

“We are delighted to be teaming up with Live Nation, the world’s leader in live music entertainment. Not only will this agreement drive hundreds of thousands of customers to our stores, it represents another step in the transformation of Blockbuster into a brand that offers the most convenient access to entertainment,” said Jim Keyes, Blockbuster chairman and ceo. “We want customers to know that whatever their entertainment needs – from DVDs and games, to accessing tickets to some of the biggest concert events – they’ll find those needs answered at Blockbuster. Our mission is to be the customer’s one-stop entertainment destination.”

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Staples 3Q earnings down 42%

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Staples announced that total company sales for the third quarter increased 34% to $7 billion compared to the third quarter of 2007. Net income declined 43% year-over-year to $157 million, and earnings per share, on a diluted basis, decreased 42% to 22 cents, from the 38 cents achieved in the third quarter of last year.

North American Retail sales decreased 6% in the third quarter of 2008 to $2.6 billion, and comparable-store sales decreased 8% versus the third quarter of 2007. This reflects declines in average order size and customer traffic, as well as weakness in computers and accessories, business machines, and furniture, partially offset by strength in technology services and ink.

“Staples’ formula of focusing on customers and investing in our business continues to pay off with market share gains in these challenging times,” said Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and ceo. “We are pleased with our progress integrating Corporate Express, encouraged by our plans to drive store productivity in North American Retail, and enthusiastic about our top and bottom line opportunities in International.”

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