FINANCE

Blockbuster gets extension for restructuring plan

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas — Blockbuster has received an extension to Feb. 4 to file its restructuring plan in order to emerge from bankruptcy protection, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The retailer filed for Chapter 11 protection in September.

Blockbuster, which must also find a new CEO, hopes to use the bankruptcy process to reduce its debt from nearly $1 billion to about $100 million. The company also has begun talks with its bondholders for an additional $200 million to $250 million for use after it leaves bankruptcy protection, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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FINANCE

Report: Wal-Mart to open banks in Chile and Argentina

BY CSA STAFF

Santiago, Chile — A report by Santiago newspaper Estrategia said that Wal-Mart Stores is considering opening banks in Chile and Argentina.

The report, circulated by Bloomberg, said that Wal-Mart completed a study into banking services in Argentina. In Chile, Wal-Mart operates the Presto credit card, which it acquired in the takeover of supermarket chain Distribucion y Servicio D&S SA in 2009.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Nine merchants lauded for online customer service excellence

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago — A survey released Tuesday by the e-tailing group said that nine merchants out of the 100 benchmarked excelled at online customer service.

According to the group’s 13th Annual Mystery Shopping Study, conducted during fourth quarter 2010, Lands’ End made the list for a third consecutive year. Coach and Saks Fifth Avenue are two-year repeat achievers.

"These merchants understand that efficiency and convenience are essential to deliver a best-in-class online shopping experience,” said Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group.

The top performers, listed alphabetically, were 1-800 Flowers, Abt, Coach, Drs. Foster & Smith, Foot Locker, King Arthur Flour, Lands End, Orvis and Saks Fifth Avenue.

A hundred online merchants were evaluated on “must have” online customer service criteria, including keyword search; four or fewer days to receive package; adequately and correctly answer e-mail question within 24 hours and providing a specific answer; on-site homepage accessibility of toll-free phone number; CSR product knowledge when calling toll-free number; five or fewer clicks to checkout; e-mail shipping confirmation sent; e-mail order confirmation sent with order number and customer service information included; and real-time inventory in shopping cart or on product page.

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