FINANCE

Big Lots net income, sales shrink in Q4

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio – Net income and sales declined at Big Lots Inc. during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 as compared to the same quarter in the prior fiscal year. Net income declined 30% to $84.3 million from $120.3 million, while net sales dropped 6% to $1.64 billion from $1.74 billion.

U.S. same-store sales dropped 3%. The retailer cited a net loss in its Canadian operations as contributing to its disappointing overall performance. In December 2013, Big Lots announced it planned to exit the Canadian market, and closed all Canadian stores by the end of February 2014.

During the full fiscal year 2013, Big Lots reported a 29% net income drop to $125.3 million from $177.1 million. Net sales declined 1% to $5.3 billion from $5.37 billion.

Looking Ahead, Big Lots estimates a first quarter loss from its discontinued Canadian operations in the range of $37 to $41 million, or $0.64 to $0.71 per diluted share, as it continues wind down efforts. This estimate includes charges related to lease liabilities, severance and asset impairment. The retailer also expects U.S. same-store sales for the full fiscal year to range from flat to 2% growth.

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FINANCE

Gap February sales fall

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Gap Inc. had a disappointing February 2014 as net sales and same-store sales declined, compared to the same month in the prior year. Net sales fell 4% to $929 million from $966 million, while same-store sales dropped 7%.

Same-store sales decreased at all three major Gap global store banners, falling 10% at Gap, 7% at Banana Republic, and 6% at Old Navy. The company noted that more than 450 stores experienced closures during February due to weather. The company also noted that February typically represents the smallest month of the first quarter.

“While February was clearly a difficult month, we remain focused on executing our global priorities,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO, Gap Inc.

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News

MasterCard and Visa form group to accelerate payment security

BY CSA STAFF

MasterCard and Visa have teamed up to form a new cross-industry group focused on enhancing payment system security to keep pace with the expectations of consumers, retailers and financial institutions.

News of the group’s formation comes as retailers like Target continue to deal with fallout from the data breaches that first came to light December 2013 and which continue to dominate headlines.

The group will initially focus on the adoption of EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip technology in the United States, in addition to addressing other security-related topics, including tokenization, point-to-point encryption and broader needs of the region.

“One of the critical roles we play is to protect consumers and businesses against criminals and fraudsters,” said Chris McWilton, president of North American Markets, MasterCard. "Only through industry collaboration and cooperation will we address the real and immediate issue of security and maintain consumer confidence and trust. EMV will be the next step in these efforts, alongside enhanced security solutions for online and mobile channels.”

This group will include a diverse group of participants in the payments systems including banks of all sizes, credit unions, acquirers, retailers, point-of-sale device manufacturers and industry trade groups.

“The recent high-profile breaches have served as a catalyst for much needed collaboration between the retail and financial services industry on the issue of payment security,” said Ryan McInerney, president, Visa. “As we have long said, no one industry or technology can solve the issue of payment system fraud on its own. These conversations will serve as a useful forum to share ideas, break down barriers and spur the adoption of next generation security solutions for the benefit of all.”

MasterCard and Visa expect the group tol complement and engage with other efforts across the industry, including proprietary risk councils, EMV task forces and the standard management bodies.

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