FINANCE

Big Lots Profit Up

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Big Lots Inc. on Friday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on improved cost controls, but the closeout retailer said it now expects same-store sales to fall in the holiday quarter amid weak demand for toys and home goods.

Net income rose to $14.3 million in the third quarter ended on Nov. 3 from $1.7 million a year earlier. Sales fell 1.8% to $1.03 billion, hurt by weak sales of toys, home goods and fall seasonal merchandise.

Earlier this month it said third-quarter same-store sales fell 0.5%.

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CVS/pharmacy Nov. comps up 4.4%

BY CSA STAFF

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark today announced that same-store sales in its CVS/pharmacy division for the four weeks ended Nov. 24 increased 4.4% over the prior year period. Pharmacy same-store sales increased 4.4%, and were negatively impacted by approximately 450 basis points due to recent generic introductions. Front-end same store sales increased 4.6%.

Same-store sales at CVS/pharmacy for the forty-seven week period increased 5.7% over the prior year period. Pharmacy same-store sales increased 5.6%, while front-end same-store sales increased 6%.

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Best Buy helps ease holiday shopping

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy announced today that is launching a series of programs designed to ease the pressure of holiday shopping.

Among its initiatives to improve the shopping experience, is the company’s reassignment of about 30% of its sales floor to a new cross-trained customer assistant position, who, according to the company would enable customers to get more personal interaction during peak shopping times. The customer assistants will be supported by BlueShirts who have a better understanding in specific consumer electronics categories.

Best Buy also said that it has revamped its return policy, extending the deadline on all products to Jan. 31, 2008. According to the company, the policy even include products such as computers and digital cameras which were previously limited to 14 days.

“We start holiday planning 11 months in advance so we can provide the very best experience possible,” said Brian Dunn, president and coo at Best Buy. “Our holiday approach is focused on bringing our customers complete gift solutions by offering a wide range of products, knowledgeable sales associates, and premium service to customers whether it’s in store, online or through our phone channel.”

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