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Apple in $3 billion deal to buy Beats Electronics

BY Marianne Wilson

CUPERTINO, Calif. — In its largest deal ever, Apple said on late Wednesday that it is buying Beats Electronics LLC for $3 billion. Beats is a key player in the premium headphone market and is also in the streamlining music business.

Apple will pay $2.6 billion in cash and another $400 million in equity for Beats, whose founders rapper and producer Andre Young (aka Dr. Dre) music-industry mogul Jimmy Iovine will join the tech giant.

With sales of digital media downloads on the decrease, Beats gives Apple entry into the booming area of Internet-based streaming, which is currently dominated by Pandora, Google Inc.’s YouTube, and Spotify Ltd.

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Report: Wal-Mart CEO says chain ramping up pace of acquisitions

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, said the company plans to ramp up the company’s pace of partnerships and acquisitions as part of a broader strategy to better compete with digital rivals, Bloomberg reported.

“We’ve been more acquisitive lately, especially for talent,” McMillon said, according to the report. “And our pace of acquisitions, I think, is going to accelerate.”

McMillion, who made his remarks during a presentation at the Code Conference, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, also said the chain, might one day use 3-D printers for producing supplies.

“Three-D printing is interesting to me. We can use 3-D printing over time for replacement parts,” McMillion said, according to the report.

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Brown Shoe swings to profit in Q1

BY Staff Writer

St. Louis — Brown Shoe Company’s first quarter results exceeded expectations as the retailer swung to a profit. The company said it is raising its annual forecast.

Brown Shoe reported net earnings for the quarter of $15.4 million, compared to a net loss of $10.8 million in the year-ago period.

Net sales for the quarter increased 0.4% to $591.2 million, from $588.7 million for the prior-year quarter.

“First quarter results exceeded our expectations, thanks to strong contemporary fashion platform sales and a return to more seasonal weather for the last two weeks of April,” said Diane Sulllivan, CEO, president and chairman of Brown Shoe.

Sullivan cited strong contemporary fashion platform sales and a return to more seasonal weather for the last two weeks of April as the driving factors for the company’s first quarter results. “We feel optimistic about second quarter and the potential to benefit from pent-up spring shoe demand,” she added.

Famous Footwear sales for the quarter were $354.6 million, up 0.7% year-over-year, with same-store-sales up 1.3%.

Wholesale sales for the quarter were $191.8 million, up 5.6%. For the healthy living platform, wholesale sales of $104.7 million were up 0.7%. Contemporary fashion wholesale sales of $86.9 million were up 12.3% in the first quarter, with strong improvement coming from the Via Spiga brand.

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