FINANCE

Best Buy Q1 profit down 26%, but beats Street

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Best Buy said its profit for the first quarter fell 26% amid higher restructuring charges and lower comparable store sales. However, adjusted earnings topped analysts’ expectations and the company maintained its earnings outlook for fiscal 2013.

Best Buy said its profit fell to $158 million in the quarter ended May 5, from $212 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 2% to $11.61 billion, helped by an extra week, and sales of tablets and mobile phones. International sales fell on weakness in China and Europe.

Total same-store sales fell 5.3%.

In the United States, online revenue jumped 20% and same-store sales for mobile phones climbed 13%. But sales of notebooks, gaming products and digital imaging and televisions were weak.

Internationally, same-store sales dropped 11%, weighed down by a 28% decline at Best Buy’s Five Star stores in China.

“Best Buy is in a turnaround, and the strategic priorities we laid out at the beginning of the year are just the first phase of the changes to come," said Mike Mikan, CEO (interim) of Best Buy. "We know we have to better adapt to the new realities of the marketplace, and we are creating a long-term plan designed to make Best Buy more relevant with customers and position the company for sustained, profitable returns in the years ahead.”

In the chain’s quarterly conference call, Mikan promised bold action to turn the chain around, and said the chain is developing a new long-term plan. He did not give any specifics of the plan, but said the goal was to make Best Buy more relevant and more nimble.

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Kmart now offering in-store bill-pay service

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Customers who wish to pay their bills in person can now do so at Kmart through the retailers new CheckFreePay walk-in bill payment service from Fiserv. The program is available at all Kmart stores nationwide and accepts bill payment from more than 3,000 companies—everything from electric, gas and cable bills to credit card statements and auto loans.

"We are continuously seeking convenient ways to help customers manage their personal finances. The debut of Kmart’s in-store bill pay program does just that – it gives our customers access to a fast and convenient way to pay bills and manage their finances," said Keith Brand, DVP alternative financial services for Kmart. "By providing services like this, we hope to make shopping at Kmart a more satisfying experience."

Through Kmart’s new bill pay program, customers are able to pay thousands of bills for $1.50 or less per transaction with cash or a PIN-based debit card at any Kmart store nationwide. Customers simply bring their bill stub and payment to any Kmart customer service desk, and the payment will be sent to the biller by the next day, if processed before 7 p.m. EST.

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Sam Walton display recieves $1 million for renovation

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart and the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation have teamed up to donate $1 million to fund the renovation and expansion of the current Sam M. Walton College of Business display, honoring Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton. Each organization donated $500,000 to update the display in the Business Administration Building on the University of Arkansas campus.

“These generous gifts will allow the University of Arkansas and the Walton College to create a world class tribute to its namesake, Sam Walton, who had a transformational impact on the business world, and our university,” said University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “We are deeply grateful for these very significant gifts and I know our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends will enjoy learning more about his extraordinary legacy.”

The current exhibit is housed in a single display case in a secluded, low-traffic area of the building. The renovated tribute will highlight the Walton memorabilia over three levels of the building’s central stairway and atrium space and will include interactive displays, modern furnishings and high-quality lighting. The new space will be viewed by thousands of people each year.

“We are so pleased that this recognition of Sam Walton will be in the midst of the business leaders of tomorrow,” said Kaneaster Hodges, president of the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. “We hope that it is an inspiration for all.”

In 1998, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation gave $50 million to the then-named College of Business Administration. At the time of the gift, Helen R. Walton, the “first lady” of Walmart said: “This gift is about improving the lives of people through education, and we hope it will improve the lives of thousands of students in the state of Arkansas.”

In 2002, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation again transformed the university with a gift of $300 million — the largest gift on record to American public higher education — during the billion-dollar Campaign for the Twenty-First Century.

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