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BY CSA STAFF

MySpace to Acquire Photo-Sharing Site

Popular online social-networking site MySpace has reached a preliminary deal to acquire top photo-sharing site Photobucket for approximately $250 million in cash, according to a report by Reuters.

Rather than keep users locked solely to its own site, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Photobucket helps Web users post their photos on other social-networking sites, including Facebook, Bebo, Friendster, eBay, Craigslist, Blogger, Xanga and even MySpace. The four-year-old start-up also provides free online storage tools that enable its 41 million registered users to save multimedia, from photos to videos to digital slide-shows, to decorate their sites. It now hosts nearly 2.8 billion images on the site.

Photobucket holds a nearly 40% share of the U.S. online photo market, nearly four times more than Yahoo Inc., according to audience measurement firm Hit-wise. Besides being the third most popular destination for MySpace users after Google and Yahoo, Photobucket was the 22nd most visited U.S. site overall in the first week of May, according to Hit-wise statistics.

Office Depot Launches ‘Green’ Web Site

Delray Beach, Fla.-based Office Depot launched a new e-commerce Web site devoted to helping shoppers “buy green.” The site, www.officedepot.com/buygreen, features several recycled products, including folders, paper and easel pads, as well as other environmentally friendly items.

“Office Depot’s environmental program is structured around a vision to increasingly ‘buy green, be green and sell green,’” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, environmental strategy advisor for Office Depot. “It’s important for us that our customers are just as environmentally conscious.”

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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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