FINANCE

Best Buy closing in on U.K. sites for expansion

BY CSA STAFF

London Property industry sources in the United Kingdom told Reuters on Monday that Best Buy is closing in on a range of possible sites in southern England and Wales, with the intent to launch stores in the United Kingdom next spring.

Best Buy and its British joint-venture partner Carphone Warehouse Group had previously planned to launch its U.K. expansion with a first store opening in summer 2009. But in early March the duo delayed its plans for entry until first quarter 2010.

Now a property industry source said Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse are considering stores of 30,000 sq. ft. to 50,000 sq. ft. in Southampton, Lakeside (Essex), Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Ipswich and Crawley. The source said the joint venture was being offered rental deals, which were running about $14 to $29 per ft.

According to the source, landlord- and precinct-offered incentive packages worth between 500,000 pounds and 2 million pounds (approximately $730,000 and $3 million) are being offered by landlords to attract the brand.

In March, the announcement to delay the British expansion cited lack of proper sites and denied the postponement was due to Best Buy’s financial downturn.

Since the postponement, however, Best Buy reported increased revenues and profits for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2009, although the retailer also saw lower net earnings and operating income. For fiscal 2010, Best Buy said it projects higher revenues and gross profits, with flat to slightly lower same-store sales. The retailer also said it expects to open 65 net new stores, 20 internationally.

As part of its joint venture with Carphone Warehouse, Best Buy is also opening mobile-phone stores in U.S. malls and urban downtown areas. Best Buy is continuing that program this year, having opened 41 Best buy Mobile JV stores in the United States and three in Canada as of February 2008.

Regarding its foray into the United Kingdom, a spokesman for the joint venture said it was yet to sign any agreements.

“We have not signed any deals and are still surveying a variety of sites up and down the country,” he said.

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Kroger announces second reusable bag contest

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI Kroger announced its second annual design a resuable shopping bag contest.

Through May 15, customers can create their designs and vote on their favorite entries online at www.kroger.com/green .Anyone who designs a bag and has a valid shopper card will receive an electronic coupon loaded directly to their card for a free reusable bag (99 cents value), where valid. Kroger has also partnered with CafePress so that designers can purchase a reusable bag featuring their design.

The winner of the contest will receive a $1,000 Kroger gift card and a chance to see their bag design sold in Kroger stores. Four finalists will be awarded $250 Kroger gift cards and five runners-up will receive $100 Kroger gift cards.

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Office Depot offers free resume copies and faxing

BY CSA STAFF

BOCA RATON, Fla. Office Depot announce that it isoffering customers free copies of resumes and free faxing from April 19 to May 30.

Customers will be able to participate in this special offer by visiting the Design, Print, & Ship Depot center in any one of the more than 1,100 Office Depot retail store locations nationwide. Office Depot is providing free copies of resumes, up to 25 single-sided pages, as well as free faxing to five different domestic numbers, up to 25 pages in total.

“Times are tough, and whether you are looking to make a career move or seeking your first job out of school, Office Depot is helping our customers take care of business by providing a valuable service free of charge,” said George Hill, SVP Office Depot’s Design, Print, and Ship Depot. “From paper and portfolios to custom printing and shipping, Office Depot is truly a one-stop-shop for resume products and services.”

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