REAL ESTATE

Chill Berry to open in upper Manhattan

BY Staff Writer

New York — Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Retail Group said it has secured a long-term lease for Chill Berry Frozen Yogurt at 2121 Frederick Douglass Blvd., between 114th and 115th Streets in New York City.

It is the second of two Harlem-based stores for the owners, with the first on Lenox Avenue and 131st Street.

Neighboring businesses along the corridor include Harlem Tavern, the 5 and Diamond, Jado Sushi, Posh Paws, Mod Squad Cycles and Best Yet Market.

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Costco ends year with strong sales, earnings

BY CSA STAFF

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco reported fourth-quarter sales of $31.52 billion, an increase of 14% from $27.59 billion for the same period last year.

Net income for the quarter was $609 million, or $1.39 per diluted share, compared with $478 million, or $1.08 per diluted share, during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.

Comparable-store sales, excluding fuel, rose 6% at U.S. stores, 7% internationally and 6% for the total company.

Net sales for the 53-week fiscal year 2012 were $97.06 billion, an increase of 12% from $87.05 billion in the prior fiscal year. Total comps for the year were up 6%.

Net income for the year was $1.71 billion, or $3.89 per diluted share, compared with $1.46 billion, or $3.30 per diluted share, during fiscal year 2011.

Costco ended its 2012 fiscal year with 608 warehouses in operation, including 439 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 82 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, 22 in the United Kingdom, 13 in Japan, nine in Taiwan, eight in Korea, and three in Australia.

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Best Buy exec changeups continue with search for new CFO

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — More unsettling news from Best Buy this week, as the company announced the departure of EVP and CFO Jim Muehlbauer.

Muehlbauer, who joined the company in 2002, will support the company through 2013 as it searches for a new finance chief.

"Jim is leaving Best Buy after more than a decade with the company," said Hubert Joly, Best Buy’s president and CEO. "We thank him for his many contributions and, of course, wish him well in the future. I have no doubt that whoever we chose to succeed Jim will have his high degree of integrity and passion for our business."

Though the company did not give a reason for Muehlbauer’s departure, one can speculate that Best Buy’s recent financial troubles might have played a role.

The company reported earnings of $12 million, or 4 cents per share, for its second quarter, compared with earnings of $150 million, 39 cents a share, the prior year. Excluding previously announced restructuring charges, net earnings from continuing operates were $68 million, or 20 cents a share, well below the 31 cents a share analysts forecast.

Total company revenues for the quarter declined 2.8% to slightly more than $10.5 billion, with same-store sales at domestic stores falling 1.6% and comps at international stores declining 8.2%.

On top of its financial struggles, Best Buy is dealing with founder and former chairman Richard Schulze’s attempts to buy out the company, as well as breaking in a relatively new CEO, Hubert Joly, who has no retail experience.

With the holidays fast approaching, Best Buy has to get a move on if it wants to come out on top this season.

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