FINANCE

Blockbuster adds dissident shareholder to board

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas Blockbuster agreed to add dissident shareholder Gregory S. Meyer as a director and said it’s working with bondholders to restructure its debt.

CEO Jim Keyes told investors at the annual meeting in Dallas that time is “of the essence” in the efforts to refinance. Blockbuster, with $900 million in debt, faces an $18.5 million July 1 interest payment on $630 million of 11.75% bonds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The company has lost more than $1 billion in the past three years amid store closings, declining sales and competition. Blockbuster is trying to reconfigure its finances and operations at the same time, Keyes said.

Meyer, who founded the DVDXpress company in 2001 that rented DVDs through kiosks, had sought to replace incumbent Gary Fernandes. The company said on Thursday all nominees were elected.

Blockbuster said in March it was seeking to refinance its debt and could be forced to seek bankruptcy protection.

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Target promotes volunteerism with exclusive Ben & Jerry’s flavors

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will debut two new, exclusive Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors at all stores nationwide. The super premium ice cream flavors, Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder, will be available throughout 2010 in mini cups and pints, according to the company.

Berry Voluntary is raspberry cheesecake flavored ice cream laced with white chocolate chunks and raspberry swirls.  Brownie Chew Gooder is vanilla caramel ice cream with fudge brownie pieces, finished with a caramel swirl.   Mini cups will be available for $1.25* and pints will be priced at $3.50. 

“By partnering with the iconic and beloved Ben & Jerry’s, Target is offering our guests even more exclusive, high-quality food options,” said Greg Duppler, SVP merchandising, Target. “Target guests who purchase these new ice cream products will not only enjoy two delicious flavors at an exceptional price, but will also have the satisfaction of supporting two great brands, aligned in their strong heritage of philanthropy and volunteerism.”

Target customers can enjoy the new flavors and do good at the same time. According to the company, customers who register for a volunteer activity at www.VolunteerMatch.org/scoopitforward and forward the opportunity to five friends, will receive a coupon for a free pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, redeemable at Target stores, while supplies last.  After that time, guests will still be able to participate in the “Scoop It Forward” promotion, and will receive a $1 off coupon in recognition of their volunteer efforts.

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NPD: Appliance sales showing strength

BY CSA STAFF

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. According to The NPD Group, sales of major appliances generated double-digit dollar and unit growth of 16% and 12% respectively, from January to May 2010, versus January to May 2009.

“Beginning last August we began to see signs of a recovery for appliances, but the new year confirmed that we’re truly on a growth trajectory – pent-up demand started it, but now we’re seeing results driven by consumer confidence and rebate programs augmented by strong retailer promotions,” said Mark Delaney, director of The NPD Group’s home division.

Most major appliance categories are seeing a boost in sales, but the largest overall increases came from dishwashers, refrigerators, clothes dryers, and washing machines, each with double-digit growth in units and dollars, compared with the first five months of 2009, according to the report.

“It’s encouraging to see such positive results in a sector that’s been struggling for so long. If retailers and manufacturers execute well with their new product offerings and we see sustained improvements in the housing sector, the major appliance industry is poised for a solid year,” ended Delaney.

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