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Costco profit edges up 2.6% in Q1, misses Street

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Issaquah, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. reported Thursday that profit for the quarter ended Nov. 20 rose 2.6% to $320 million, from $312 million a year earlier. The wholesale club operator attributed the lackluster performance, which missed Wall Street expectations, to higher costs, which offset increased revenue.

Costco’s revenue rose to $21.18 billion, missing analysts’ predicted $21.29 billion in revenue.

Same-store sales rose 10%; excluding gas prices and strengthening foreign currencies, the figure rose 7%.

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Conn’s posts wider Q3 loss, names new president

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Beaumont, Texas — Conn’s Inc. reported Thursday that losses in the third quarter widened to $12.7 million from $4.8 million a year ago.

Sales rose 5% to $179.5 million.

The electronics retailer also announced that it made Theodore M. Wright its permanent president and CEO. He had been the company’s interim president and CEO since February 2011.

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IBM looks to enhance retail presence with DemandTec buy

BY CSA STAFF

ARMONK, N.Y. and SAN MATEO, Calif. — IBM announced that it intends to acquire DemandTec for $13.20 per share, or at a net price of approximately $440 million, after adjusting for cash.

The acquisition of DemandTec, which has approximately 450 customers worldwide in retail, consumer products and other industries, will extend IBM’s smarter commerce initiativeby adding cloud-based price, promotion and other merchandising and marketing analytics to help companies better define the best price points and product mix based on customer buying trends, IBM said.

“IBM smarter commerce is redefining how brands buy, market, sell and service their customers in ways that their customers want,” said Craig Hayman, general manager of industry solutions at IBM. “Bringing science to the art of pricing and promotion is a big part of this strategy, and the combination of DemandTec and IBM will help marketing and sales executives in retail and other industries drive more revenue and increase profitability.”

Through the agreement, DemandTec will enable companies to use cloud computing services to gain insights about customer merchandising and pricing preferences to better market, sell and deliver the right product at the right place, and at the right price. DemandTec also expands IBM’s strategy by adding additional, subscription-based offerings to IBM’s software-as-a servicesolutions portfolio, the company said.

DemandTec is based in San Mateo, Calif. and has more than 350 employees, with additional offices in Minneapolis, London, Paris, and Bangalore. The acquisition is subject to DemandTec shareholder approval, applicable regulatory clearances and other customary closing conditions. It’s expected to close in the first quarter of 2012.

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