FINANCE

Amazon grows Q2 sales, incurs loss due to investments

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle — Amazon.com increased net sales an impressive 22% during the second quarter of fiscal 2013. But the Internet retailing giant reported a net loss of $7 million due to operating expenses and investments in warehouses, digital content and other areas, compared with net income of $7 million in the year-ago period.

Net sales rose to $15.7 billion, compared with $12.8 billion in the second quarter of the prior year. Amazon.com did not offer a specific reason for the net loss. However, the retailer cited a number of achievements during the quarter, including the expansion of the Amazon AppStore to customers in 200 countries, the launch of an Indian marketplace and expansion of Kindle Fire HD’s availability in China, Canada and India.

For the third quarter of this fiscal year, Amazon.com expects net sales between $15.45 billion and $17.15 billion, or to grow between 12% and 24% compared with third-quarter 2012 results. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, stressed the importance of Kindle devices to Amazon’s success in public commentary.

“We’re so grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle devices and our digital ecosystem,” Bezos said. “This past quarter, our top 10 selling items worldwide were all digital products — Kindles, Kindle Fire HDs, accessories and digital content. The Kindle service keeps getting better. The Kindle Store now offers millions of titles, including more than 350,000 exclusives that you won’t find anywhere else.”

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FINANCE

Starbucks serves tasty Q3 results as profit rises 25%

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle — Starbucks Corp. reported strong results for third quarter fiscal 2013, with net revenues, same-store sales and operating income all increasing substantially from the same quarter a year earlier.

Net earnings grew 25%, from $333.1 million to $417.8 million.

Net revenues totaled about $3.7 billion, up 13% from $3.3 billion. Same-store sales increased 8% globally, driven by 9% growth in U.S. stores.

In addition to generally strong same-store sales, Starbucks also helped drive revenues with the opening of 1,558 net new stores since the third quarter of the previous fiscal year, including 596 in the Americas segment. The company opened 341 net new stores during the quarter and now operates 19,209 stores globally.

Other highlights of the quarter included a strategic agreement with Danone to jointly produce yogurt products; sale of company equity in stores in Chile and Argentina to business partner Alsea; expansion of a long-term strategic partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters for the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of Starbucks- and Tazo-branded single-serve Keurig packs; expanding the number of stores selling La Boulange bakery products to 1,076; and making changes to the senior leadership team.

“Starbucks third-quarter results represent the best across-the-board third-quarter performance in our 42-year history,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO. "Our more than 19,000 store global footprint, our fast-growing CPG presence and our best-in-class digital, card, loyalty and mobile capabilities are creating a ‘flywheel’ effect elevating the relevancy of all things Starbucks, and driving profitability.”

During fiscal 2014, Starbucks anticipates revenue growth of approximately 10% to 13%, mid-single-digit same-store sales growth and the opening of 1,400 net new stores including 600 in the Americas.

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FINANCE

Report: A&P plans to sell company

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. (A&P), which exited bankruptcy last year, is reportedly looking to sell itself. A report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that an internally distributed company memo from A&P chairman Gregory Mays to store managers states a sale of A&P is one of several options for funding growth, along with raising capital and refinancing.

However, the report quotes an anonymous source as saying a sale is the most likely option.
The report lists buyout firm Cerberus Capital, as well as grocery conglomerates Kroger and Ahold, as possible bidders in the event of a sale. A&P reportedly may be valued at $1 billion or more. The company has not publicly responded to the report.

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