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Best Buy Mobile depts. On the move

BY CSA STAFF

With every major supplier jumping into smartphones, the category is on pace to produce big sales this year as customers transition from traditional cell phones. And Best Buy is moving into the market in a big way with the expansion of in-store mobile phone departments.

The company, which tested the section in 181 stores last year, rolled them out to more than 400 additional stores this spring and now has them in 599 stores. “We have plans to scale Best Buy Mobile to the majority of our U.S. chain in the next 18 months,” said Best Buy president Brian Dunn in a recent conference call. “Our initial results showed tremendous customer response.”

During its most recent quarter, Best Buy posted a 50% increase in mobile phone sales, something it attributed to the in-store departments. The stations offer a wide range of phones and service plans from top suppliers like Samsung, LG, Blackberry and Motorola.

The success of Best Buy Mobile and the smartphone business in general has other retailers jumping in, with a recent report suggesting one-time cell phone sales leader RadioShack will be next.

In a company alert published July 17, Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Baker said, “Our source indicates that RSH [RadioShack] is building three test stores to open by October and then will hope to have 10 by the year end, 150 in the next 12 months and 400 in three years, if successful.”

He continued, “RSH is targeting higher-end, non-mall real estate, so existing stores may not be suitable for conversion, despite a similar square footage.” Baker added that his source believes the stores will “replicate the look and feel of Apple Stores and that RSH has hired the same group that designed those locations.”

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Costco posts mercury warning on seafood counters

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON Costco has agreed to post the Food and Drug Administration mercury advice on signs at its seafood counters, ocean conservation group Oceana announced.

“Posting a sign that tells consumers which fish they should avoid would let them know that other fish are OK to eat, and allay any fears they may have,” said Simon Mahan, campaign manager for Oceana.  “In fact, some grocery stores that posted the FDA advice had no negative effect on their seafood sales and one company even reported that seafood sales increased after posting the signs,” he added.

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Food Lion appoints new cfo

BY CSA STAFF

SALISBURY, N.C. Food Lion has promoted Carol Herndon to serve as cfo and chief administrative officer. Herndon will continue to have senior-leadership responsibility for all of accounting and analysis, as well as information technology.

In addition, she will now be accountable for corporate development, which includes real estate, store development, mergers and acquisitions, construction, maintenance, equipment procurement and energy management.

Herndon’s career at Food Lion began when she joined the organization as a financial controller in 1989.

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