FINANCE

AutoZone Q4 profit up 12%

BY Staff Writer

Memphis — AutoZone reported Tuesday that profit for the quarter ended Aug. 27 rose 12% to $301.5 million, compared with $268.9 million in the year-ago period.

Sales rose 8.1% to $2.64 billion from $2.45 billion, topping Wall Street expectations of $2.61 billion in sales. Same-store sales in the U.S. rose 4.5%.

During the quarter, AutoZone opened 68 new stores, replaced five stores, and closed one store in the United States and opened 18 new stores in Mexico.

For the full fiscal year, AutoZone earned $849 million, compared with $738.3 million last year. Sales rose to $8.07 billion from $7.36 billion.

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OPERATIONS

Collective Brands forges new distribution agreements

BY Staff Writer

Lexington, Mass. — Collective Brands’ Performance + Lifestyle Group, which owns Sperry Top-Sider, Keds and Stride Rite, has signed new distribution agreements with partners to ramp up international expansion in several markets, including Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Spain.

Through an agreement with ABC-Mart, Tokyo, the Saucony and Sperry Top-Sider brands will be reintroduced across the Japan market. For the Singapore and Malaysia markets, the company has inked a distribution deal with RSH Limited, Singapore, for the Sperry Top-Sider, Keds and Saucony brands in both countries.

Through a new distribution deal with Sefonia Yourself SA, Barcelona, which also currently holds the Sperry Top-Sider distribution agreement and has been managing the introduction of Sperry in Spain for the past year, the Keds brand will be re-introduced in Spain in 2012 through a similar strategic approach targeting pinnacle retail stores well aligned with the brand’s cache in the local market, according to the company.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Most consumers concerned about online fraud

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Los Altos, Calif. — A survey released Tuesday by ThreatMetrix and The Ponemon Institute found that the majority of consumers have real concerns about online fraud.

According to the study “Mobile Payments & Online Shopping Survey of U.S. Consumers,” one-third of consumers intend to purchase more online than in-store this holiday shopping season, and three in four have either some or serious concerns about online fraud.

Forty-three percent report they have been the victim of online fraud, up slightly from 42% that was reported in a similar study in early 2011.

“While consumers continue to show a preference for the convenience of shopping and browsing online, their concerns about becoming a victim of online fraud is also growing,” said Bert Rankin, VP marketing, ThreatMetrix. “With mobile thrown into the shopping mix, which is even more apparent this year, consumers and retailers alike need to be well equipped against fraudsters in every possible channel.”

Nearly one in three consumers believe the fraud risk to be lower on a smartphone or tablet than on a desktop or laptop computer, added Rankin. When asking the “Elite” group – which for the purpose of the survey are consumers who could be considered extremely active users of the Internet – that number increased to 39%.

“An overwhelming 84% of survey respondents said they thought it was important that a retailer express a commitment to protecting them from fraud.

Most popular purchases using a mobile payments option on a smartphone or tablet are music downloads (77%), online service subscriptions or memberships (75%) and apps for smartphone or tablets (73%), according to survey results. Consumer electronics ranked slightly above clothing, at 48% and 43%, respectively.

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