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Carphone loss widens for Best Buy U.K. joint venture

BY CSA STAFF

London — U.K. mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse Group PLC reported Tuesday that its loss for its Best Buy U.K. joint venture widened to $102 million in the year to March 31, compared with a loss of $34 million in the prior year. CEO Roger Taylor has warned analysts to expect further losses of between $82 million and $98 million this year.

Carphone announced its joint venture with Best Buy Co. in July 2008, announcing plans to open as many as 200 big boxes across Europe by 2013 under the Best Buy U.K. name. That target has already shrunk to 100, and only 10 stores have opened so far — all in the United Kingdom — with just one more in the pipeline this year.

Taylor had indicated earlier that he would deliver a strategy update on the loss-making business on Tuesday, but he said the company will instead continue to evaluate its next steps for the business over the summer.

Carphone Warehouse Group comprises a 50% joint venture with Best Buy Europe and a separate joint venture with Virgin, Virgin Mobile France. Best Buy Europe comprises CPW Europe, the region’s largest mobile phone retailer; a profit share in Best Buy’s mobile phone retail operations in the United States; and Best Buy U.K.

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Nickelodeon ‘Victorious’ in nabbing deal with Walmart

BY CSA STAFF

LAS VEGAS — Nickelodeon is launching the first products themed after one of its live-action comedy series exclusively at Walmart.

U.S. and Canada Walmart stores will carry the more than 250 products based on the show "Victorious," including apparel, accessories, entertainment and school supplies. Most stores will begin carrying the items in July through the back-to-school shopping season.

What’s more, Walmart also will carry the "Victorious": Season One, Volume One DVD beginning July 5, as well as the "Victorious" CD soundtrack, and a special Nickelodeon CD featuring live-action stars from the network’s popular shows, which will be exclusively available at Walmart. Both CDs will be released on Aug. 2.

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Consumers not going back-to-school shopping so fast

BY CSA STAFF

LOS ANGELES — Back-to-school shopping will likely take place even later this year than in 2010, as consumers hope to score last-minute deals, the latest forecast from PriceGrabber reveals. PriceGrabber, a part of Experian, found that 95% of consumers are planning to use some sort of money saving technique when back-to-school shopping, and they plan to start shopping later in 2011 than they did in 2010.

According to the survey, 49% of back-to-school shoppersplan to make purchases in August, compared with 38% who said that in 2010. Only 14% said they will begin shopping in June, versus 26% in 2010.

PriceGrabber found that the reason for the delay is because shoppers want more time to compare prices online and take advantage of last-minute discounts. The survey foundthat 69% of consumers will shop online or use comparison shopping websites, and 41% will visit retailer websites to print out coupons.

Though shoppers may be delaying their purchases, economic concerns have most saying they will spread them out with 55% saying they will distribute the cost of purchases over a longer time period.

"While the economic climate is beginning to improve, we are not surprised to see that back-to-school shoppers remain cautiously optimistic," stated Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "Further analysis of the data supports the idea that consumers are careful to distribute their purchases over an extended period, if possible. However, shoppers are also becoming increasingly savvy and open to taking advantage of online shopping solutions that they may not have considered in the past, as can be seen by many consumers’ decisions to begin shopping at a later date."

When back-to-school shoppers do get around to making purchases, they will be budget-conscious.Of the consumers who are shopping for back-to-school items this year, 52% plan to spend as much as they did last year and 35% plan to spend less. Only 13% plan to spend more this year because of the economic recovery.

The survey was conducted between May 12 and 19 and includes responses from 2,612 U.S. online consumers.

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