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AutoZone profit drops in Q4

BY CSA STAFF

Memphis, Tenn. AutoZone reported that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 3.1%, citing tough comparisons to a prior-year period that included an extra week of sales.

Bill Rhodes, AutoZone’s chairman, president and CEO, said consumers remained focused on trying to save money during the quarter by spending more on basic maintenance in order to keep their cars on the road longer. Rhodes added that he expects the same trend to continue for the near future.

For the quarter ended Aug. 29, the company earned $236.1 million, down from $243.7 million a year ago. Sales rose 1% to $2.23 billion, from $2.21 billion.

Excluding sales from the additional week included in the prior year’s quarter, AutoZone said sales rose 7.1% and domestic same-store sales increased 5.4%.

The CEO added that the government’s Cash for Clunkers program — which offered cash incentives to consumers who swapped older, less fuel-efficient vehicles for new ones — didn’t have a material impact on AutoZone’s fourth-quarter sales, noting that the average age of vehicles on American roads continues to rise.

For the full fiscal year, AutoZone earned $657 million, up from $641.6 million a year ago. Sales rose to $6.82 billion from $6.52 billion.

During the quarter AutoZone opened 58 new stores, closed one store, and replaced three stores in the United States. It also opened 20 stores in Mexico. As of Aug. 29, AutoZone had 4,229 stores in the United States and 188 stores in Mexico.

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Borders to party it up at National Book Festival

BY CSA STAFF

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Borders announced that it will be the exclusive book retailer for the 9th annual National Book Festival, which will take place Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Borders will have hundreds of titles on hand from many of the bestselling authors who will be at the event including James Patterson, Kate DiCamillo, Judy Blume, Ken Burns, Paula Deen, Jeff Kinney, Rick Riordan, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks and others.

The Borders store will be located in the Book Sales Pavilion, so attendees can pick up their books before heading over to the Author Signing Pavilions located nearby.

For more information, including a complete list of participating authors and author signing and pavilions schedules, please visit www.loc.gov/bookfest. Festival-goers can also text “BOOK” to 61399 for up-to-the minute text alerts and news. Standard message rates apply.

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Staples, DoSomething raise money for school supply drive

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK, N.Y. and FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Grammy winning singer-songwriter Ciara, Staples and DoSomething.org announced that the 2009 Do Something 101 national school supply drive raised more than $630,000 in customer cash donations. Combined with the company’s $125,000 contribution of school supplies, Staples customers also donated thousands of items such as notebooks, calculators and other supplies for students in need.

At one supply drive in New York, teen volunteers worked with Ciara and Chaske Spencer of Twilight and singer Leah Renee to stuff 5,000 bags with school essentials that were donated to local students. In addition, Staples customers responded to the opportunity to donate one dollar at any Staples store to help local not-for-profit organizations serving disadvantaged students. 100% of donations received in Staples stores will be donated to local youth organizations.

“Teens around the country made a difference this summer by collecting school supplies and dropping them off at Staples stores nationally,” said Demos Parneros, president of U.S. stores at Staples. “Every volunteer and contributor to Do Something 101 played a critical role in helping community youth in need get supplies that are essential to start the school year off right.”

In support of the campaign, Ciara starred in a PSA that aired on more than 9,000 television and radio stations nationwide. Staples also established a Do Something 101 Fan Page on Facebook that continues to raise awareness among the teen audience, as does the “Adopt-A-Pack” Facebook application that encourages teens to recruit their friends to donate to the cause.

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