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Alliance Data to launch private label credit card program for TigerDirect

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Alliance Data Systems Corp., a provider of loyalty and marketing solutions derived from transaction-rich data announced its retail services business has signed a multi-year agreement to provide private label credit card services for multichannel computer and electronics retailer TigerDirect, a subsidiary of Systemax, Inc.

Miami-based TigerDirect was established to serve the needs of business and personal computer users, and is one of the industry’s top computer and computer-product retailers. Through its industry-leading website, robust catalog business and 32 retail store locations across the United States, TigerDirect sells computers; computer parts; TV, video and audio products; appliances; cameras; software; video gaming equipment and more.

Through its suite of credit and marketing tools, Alliance Data will launch and provide marketing services for a new private label credit card program for TigerDirect, designed to extend brand affinity among its cardholders with a wide range of flexible financing and payment options.

“The TigerDirect customer is a smart shopper with a high degree of technical knowledge, and one who expects superior customer service and support — which we provide at a level unmatched in the industry,” said Robert Leeds, CEO, TigerDirect. “We value Alliance Data’s industry expertise, keen understanding of the competitive retail environment, and ability to customize a program that meets the unique needs of the TigerDirect customer. We look forward to working with Alliance Data to help us keep the TigerDirect brand top-of-mind among our most loyal customers, and to drive sales and long-term customer relationships.”

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Uptick in revenues for Ace

BY CSA STAFF

Ace Hardware reported first-quarter revenues of $923.2 million, up 1.7% from the same quarter in 2012. Net income of $4.4 million was down from $10.2 million earned in 2012.

"While our first-quarter results are down compared with the prior year, both revenues and net income were ahead of plan," said John Venhuizen, Ace CEO. "The first quarter of 2012 was an extraordinary quarter because of the unseasonably warm spring weather with revenues up $54.2 million, or 6.3%. Our expectations were that this was unlikely to recur in 2013, and we planned accordingly."

Venhuizen replaced Ray Griffith as CEO at the end of March.

The December acquisition of Westlake Ace Hardware, the 85-store Midwest chain, resulted in a reduction of reported wholesale revenues, as wholesale revenues from Ace to Westlake — a total of $18.9 million for the first quarter of 2013 — are now eliminated.

Ace’s balance sheet also reflects the acquisition. It now includes $74.4 million of Westlake inventory, $19.7 million of property and equipment, $23.1 million of goodwill and other intangibles, and $39.0 million of acquisition debt.

The co-op’s wholesale revenues of $883.4 million were down 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. Comparable-store wholesale merchandise revenues declined 2.2%. The co-op said "approximately half of this decline was in the lawn and garden categories where the unseasonably cold spring weather in 2013 compared to the unseasonably warm spring weather in 2012 negatively affected demand."

Ace added 21 new domestic stores and cancelled 19 domestic stores. The new store count at the end of the first quarter is 4,106.

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Walgreens mobilizes aid for Okla. tornado survivors

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Responding to Monday’s tornado in the Oklahoma City area, Walgreens mobilized increased shipments of essential supplies to its area stores, made an initial donation of three semi-trailers of food, water and first aid supplies to the Oklahoma chapter of the American Red Cross and offered customers an opportunity to make donations at its Oklahoma drugstores.

The Walgreens store at 1041 S.W. 19th St. in Moore, Okla., suffered severe damage and is temporarily closed. To serve that area’s pharmacy patients, the company plans to locate a temporary pharmacy trailer at the site as soon as possible, and construction workers will begin rebuilding the store this week so it can be reopened for business.

Walgreens increased shipments of items such as food, water, first aid supplies and tetanus shots to keep store shelves and pharmacies stocked with essentials. The company also worked with the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy to enact emergency procedures that allow pharmacists to help displaced patients refill prescriptions if they lack documentation or an empty prescription bottle.

“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Moore and the entire Oklahoma City area who suffered such devastating losses,” said Bill Miller, Walgreens market VP for Oklahoma. “They include our neighbors, our customers and our employees, and we want to support them in any way we can.”

At Walgreens drugstores throughout the state of Oklahoma, store employees began inviting customers to make point-of-purchase cash donations to the American Red Cross in amounts of $1, $5 and $10.

At least 18 Walgreens employees suffered property losses, ranging from moderate damage to property and automobiles to homes completely lost. Employees who suffered losses can apply for financial assistance to the Walgreens Benefit Fund, which was established by company founder Charles R. Walgreen Sr. after his death in 1939. The Walgreens Benefit Fund is a nonprofit organization devoted to distributing financial assistance to company employees who experience financial difficulties due to circumstances beyond their control, including natural disasters.

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