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BY CSA STAFF

Intel Corp.

Intel Corp., Santa Clara, Calif., introduced an RFID chip that promises to enhance the capabilities and design of existing UHF RFID readers. The design of the Intel UHF RFID Transceiver R1000 integrates approximately 90% of the discrete components found in a typical RFID reader radio, including receiving, transmission, baseband, modulation and demodulation functionalities, onto a single chip. The Intel R1000 delivers high performance with low power consumption, and supports a full range of reader form factors and applications. These range from short-range handheld readers to long-range dock-door readers.www.intel.com

SATO America

SATO America is further improving the RFID landscape with its new GL4e series RFID-ready printers designed for medium-duty industrial applications. The GL4e series features a field-upgradable UHF RFID option, the Java-based SATOnet Connect software that remotely controls and monitors network printers and standard tri-port communications protocols, and an Online Data Verifier option that validates barcode scan-ability at point-to-print. The combination translates to improved productivity and cost savings. It also resolves the issues of integration compatibility.www.satoamerica.com

Arthur Blank & Co.

Boston-based Arthur Blank & Co. introduced its latest product, the MirrorCard. A high-gloss metallic finish creates a high-tech glamorous look that makes the card stand out on store racks or in customer wallets. Arthur Blank & Co. is marketing the card as an option for membership, loyalty and gift cards, and to augment direct-mail programs. It can also be used for signs and point-of-purchase displays.www.arthurblank.com

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Sears comps hurt by energy costs

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings today reported net income of $216 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended May 5, compared with net income of $180 million, or $1.14 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended April 29, 2006.

“In part, our domestic operating results reflect the impact of some of the same challenges being faced by our customers, such as rising energy costs and a slower housing market,” said Aylwin Lewis, Sears Holdings’ ceo and president. “However, as an organization, we need to overcome these factors by better controlling costs and developing innovative solutions that better meet our customers’ needs and allow us to generate a more reasonable level of profitability even in the face of such challenges.”

Domestic comparable-store sales declined 3.9% during the first quarter of fiscal 2007. Sears domestic comparable-store sales declined 3.4% for the quarter, while Kmart comparable-store sales declined 4.4%. We believe these declines reflect both increased competition and the impact of external factors such as rising energy costs, a slower housing market and poor weather conditions during the latter part of the first quarter of fiscal 2007. Kmart experienced lower transaction volumes across most merchandise categories, most notably within home goods, health and beauty products, and food and consumables. Similarly, Sears domestic recorded comparable-store sales declines across most merchandise categories and formats, with a notable decline in home appliance sales, which we believe reflects both a slower U.S. housing market and the impact of increased competition.

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Big Lots 1Q net sales up 3.4%

BY CSA STAFF

COLUMBUS, Ohio Big Lots today reported first quarter fiscal 2007 income from continuing operations of $29 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, compared to income from continuing operations of $14.5 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2006. Including the impact of discontinued operations, first quarter fiscal 2007 net income totaled $28.8 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, compared to $13.7 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, in the prior year.

Net sales for the first quarter ended May 5, increased 3.4% to $1.13 billion, compared to $1.1 billion for the same period in fiscal 2006. Comparable-store sales for stores open at least two years at the beginning of the fiscal year increased 4.9% for the quarter.

For the second quarter 2007, the company expects income from continuing operations of 7 cents to 10 cents per share versus income from continuing operations of 4 cents per share last year. Comparable-store sales are expected to increase 2% to 4%, compared to a 5.2% comparable-store sales increase recorded last year.

For fiscal 2007, the company expects income from continuing operations of $1.25 to $1.30 per share versus income from continuing operations of $1.01 per share last year.

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