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Best Buy Becomes First Independent iPhone Retailer

BY CSA STAFF

Minneapolis Best Buy Co. will start selling the iPhone on Sept. 7, becoming first U.S. chain to do so outside of Apple Inc.’s and AT&T Inc.’s own stores, according to a Reuters report.

The announcement expands the availability of Apple’s phone to 970 full-size stores and 16 smaller Best Buy Mobile stores. It’s also a coup for Best Buy, which has been upgrading its cell-phone departments.

“We had a lot of work to do, obviously, to get in a position where Apple and AT&T would feel good about Best Buy Mobile carrying it, and that’s what we’ve done in the last 18 months,” said Shawn Score, president of Best Buy Mobile.

Best Buy also resells Apple’s Mac computers and iPod media players. Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said the long-standing relationship between the companies was the reason Best Buy would now be able to sell the iPhone.

Last week, Best Buy announced it had completed a two-year conversion of its stores to include upgraded cell-phone departments under the Best Buy Mobile brand. It has upgraded its computer systems to handle cell-phone activation and spent 250,000 hours training its employees.

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Saralegui to represent Nestle Pure Life

BY CSA STAFF

GREENWICH, Conn. Nestle Waters North America has signed a two-year partnership agreement with Cristina Saralegui, an internationally-acclaimed Hispanic television personality. Under this agreement, the company reported, Saralegui will serve as spokesperson for Nestle Pure Life, appearing in print and broadcast advertising and online on behalf of the company’s new Vive Sanamente (Live Healthy) marketing campaign.

“I am thrilled to be collaborating with Nestle Waters on Vive Sanamente,” said Saralegui.  “I want to educate Latino moms about the importance of teaching their children healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.  There is no doubt that drinking water and exercising regularly are essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”

Saralegui, host and executive producer of El Show de Cristina, one of the highest-rated programs on Spanish-language television, is also being featured in point-of-purchase consumer brochures and public relations programs. 

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Linens ‘N Things reports 21% 2Q sales decline

BY CSA STAFF

CLIFTON, N.J. Linens Holding Co. reported total sales of $504 million for its second quarter ended June 28. Net retail sales of $468.1 million for the quarter represented a 21.1% decrease over the same period in 2007. Total net retail sales for the quarter does not include $35.9 million in liquidation sales in accordance with the previously announced closing of 120 stores in the second quarter.

The decrease in second quarter net retail sales resulted from a comparable-store sales decline of 18.3% for the period and the net reduction of 105 stores from the prior year.

During the second quarter of 2008, the company opened two stores and closed 120 stores, as compared with opening seven stores and closing zero stores during the second quarter of 2007.

As of June 28, Linens ’n Things operated 475 stores in 46 states and seven provinces across the United States and Canada.

Due to its recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, the company requires additional time to complete the preparation of its consolidated financial statements for the second quarter of 2008. The company is performing an impairment analysis related to certain of its tangible and intangible assets, which is not yet complete.

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