Build-a-Bear Workshop Q1 profit tops estimates
St. Louis — Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. reported a better-than-expected profit of $5.03 million for the first quarter, up from $13,000 a year before.
The company posted total revenue of $97.9 million, slightly below analysts expectations of $98.7 million, down from $ 104.3 million in first quarter 2013.
During the quarter, the company closed seven stores, ending the period with 316 company-owned stores.
"A combination of real estate optimization, retail gross margin expansion and SG&A (selling, general and administrative expenses) reduction drove the profitability increase," CEO Sharon John said. "With these results, we now have five consecutive quarters of operating improvement and we look forward to continuing our progress through the balance of the year.”
Survey: College students wary of mobile payments
Lenexa, Kan. – Four-in-10 (42%) college students around the country would "probably not" or "definitely not" make more mobile payments if they were widely available. A survey sponsored by Balance Innovations showed that another 42% reported they would use their mobile phone "somewhat more, depending on the retailer or purchase," and only 16% of those surveyed said they absolutely would use mobile payments "all the time."
Additional insights from the survey include:
• Men are significantly more likely to fully switch to mobile payments once they become widely available, with 21% saying they would absolutely use them all the time compared to only 12% of women.
• Students in career-oriented majors, such as accounting or business administration, are more likely to embrace mobile payments than those in academically oriented tracks, such as history or English.
• At 18%, students in graduate programs are the most likely college students to say they would use their smartphones for in-store payments all the time, if available.
• Students living on either coast are more likely to gravitate toward mobile payments at 18% (West Coast) and 17% (East Coast). Only 13% of students in colleges located in the Midwest said they would use their mobile phone to pay for purchases.
The survey, conducted by 210 Analytics LLC polled a nationwide sample of 2,503 college students April 8-13, 2014.
"Because they are front-runners of technology and avid smartphone users, we anticipated higher interest in the use of mobile payments among these 18- to 24-year-olds," said Steve Rempel, president and CEO at Balance Innovations. "But this is a reminder that it’s the consumer, not the retailer, who ultimately drives the rise and fall of payment technologies, as well as the pace of adoption. The payments industry needs to keep a finger on the pulse of the shopper to meet their technology preferences."
Senate rejects minimum wage hike
New York — A bid to raise the federal minimum wage was rejected by Republicans in the Senate, who blocked legislation Wednesday to boost the rate to $10.10 an hour. Senators predominantly voted across party lines, which places Democratic senators in favor and Republican senators opposed.
The defeat was expected, and it is expected to serve as a rallying cry for Democrats preparing their next campaign.
"The senators who voted ‘no’ … are doing so contrary to the wishes of the American people," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday. "So what we have seen since the President has been forcefully arguing for raising the minimum wage is support for that proposition around the country," he said. "We’ve seen states acting individually to raise the minimum wage, and that is very heartening."
Carney was referring to Hawaii, which recently raised its minimum wage to $10.10. And in Seattle on Thursday, the minimum wage for that city was raised to $15.
Minimum wage is a hotly contested issue. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of April 8, 38 states considered minimum wage bills during the 2014 session; 34 states are considering increases to the state minimum wage.
In addition to Hawaii, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., have enacted increases so far in 2014. As of Jan. 1, 2014, 21 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25.