Best Buy looks to regain tech leadership with hiring boost
Minneapolis — Following a disappointing second quarter, Best Buy is looking to reposition itself as a tech leader with plans to hire more than 200 information technology professionals, with more than 100 new positions to be posted in the next several weeks.
Best Buy said Thursday it is looking to recruit skilled professionals from across the IT landscape, including e-commerce, business analytics, application development, engineering and project management.
"As a technology company that operates across a variety of channels, we’re always looking for ways to better serve our customers and employees,” said Jody Davids, CIO and senior VP global business services at Best Buy. "Bringing in the best and the brightest IT talent will help us to achieve our ongoing goals of providing a unique and engaging customer experience– whether in-store, online or across our mobile platforms – and creating a work environment for employees that encourages collaboration and sparks innovation."
For its second quarter, Best Buy reported a same-store sales decline of 2.8% that was mostly impacted by poor sales performance in television, gaming, digital imaging and physical media. The company reported net earnings of $177 million for its fiscal second quarter ended Aug. 27, compared with $254 million for the prior-year period.
Walmart to reveal growth plans, detail strategy next week
Walmart is set to hold its 18th annual fall analysts’ meeting next week and provide insight into a broad range of growth strategies, domestic turnaround efforts and international expansion. The event is scheduled to last from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Central Time, and while a detailed agenda wasn’t publicly available late Thursday, the company did say the video webcast will include slide presentations and question and answer sessions on the company’s three operating segments, Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club, as well as Global eCommerce, capital plans and the strategic direction for the coming fiscal year. In year’s past, the event has included store tours and a reception and dinner the evening before although there was no indication whether that would be the case again this year.
While analysts attending these type of functions are always interested in companies’ near term view of current business conditions, those looking for deep insight into the Walmart’s outlook for the holiday season or the status of third quarter sales are likely to be disappointed. Walmart doesn’t do mid-quarter guidance updates and don’t look for the company to start next week. Likewise, it would be very surprising in Walmart deviated from its standard commentary around the state of the consumer and how challenging economic conditions have resulted in a pronounced paycheck cycle.
Instead, the meeting has typically served as a venue for the disclosure of the coming year’s capital expenditure program, but here too there may not be much new news as the company has already indicated supercenters remain the primary growth driver for 2012 as smaller formats, while being expanded somewhat, remain a pilot program. It’s also no secret that the international division continues to garner a larger percentage of the cap-ex budget and that trend remains in place. Sam’s Club is something of a wild card as the division’s strong performance for the past 18 months may have the company rethinking its allocation of capital and new store plans.
Overall, one indication that Walmart may not have that much to say this year is that the meeting is relatively brief. Sure, the event will occupy the better part of a day, but Walmart is a massive company with lots of things going on and conceivably could spend an entire day discussing the wide range of strategies in play at the stores division or doing a deep dive on some of the major markets that comprise the international division. Instead, the meeting Walmart has planned won’t last much longer than those of some single-division retailers whose operations are limited to the United States.
SpendingPulse: Strong results for most retail sectors in September
Purchase, N.Y. — Consumer spending remained strong for most sectors in September, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and service sales. Most segments reported positive year-over-year sales results, with particularly strong results in the apparel, hardware, and department store sectors.
“The U.S. consumer continues to spend across multiple sectors outside of the sectors tied to the housing market,” said Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. “This resilience in retail sales growth has been impressive in spite of disruptive weather, high gasoline prices and generally negative economic news.”
McNamara suggested that some of the boost in year-over-year results may be due to the aftermath of Hurricane Irene back in August, particularly in stores with a strong presence on the East Coast. The strong performance in hardware may reflect some repair work, and September’s apparel sales may have been boosted by delayed back-to-school shopping, he said.
In other news, the poor housing market continues to be reflected in declines in furniture, furnishings, and electronics and appliances.
The SpendingPulse Back-to-School sales index shows a year-over-year increase of 3.6%, compared with the July-September time period in 2010. This index aggregates the sales performance for children’s apparel, family apparel, department stores, office supplies and drug stores. Children’s apparel, for example, had the highest year/year growth since 2007, and all the Back-to-School categories showed increases compared with the 2010 season, according to the report.