REAL ESTATE

DDR to acquire select power enters for $1.46 billion

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Beachwood, Ohio — DDR Corp. announced an agreement to acquire a portfolio of prime power centers from its existing joint venture with Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII. The acquisition is slated to close in fourth quarter 2013.

The joint venture between Blackstone and DDR currently owns 44 shopping centers, and DDR will acquire Blackstone’s 95% common equity ownership interest in 30 of the shopping centers for $1.46 billion.

The portfolio being purchased includes 10 properties that DDR has a current right-of-first-offer to acquire, such as Shoppers World in Boston, Woodfield Village Green in Chicago, Fairfax Towne Center in Washington, D.C., and Riverdale Village in Minneapolis.

The 14 properties not being acquired will remain in the venture owned 95% by Blackstone and 5% by DDR, and DDR will continue to manage and lease those properties.

"We are very pleased to add these outstanding assets to our wholly owned portfolio," said Daniel B. Hurwitz, CEO, DDR. "It was our goal to accomplish this upon the initial formation of the venture with Blackstone, and we thank them for being outstanding partners.”

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News

Tardy tax refunds, cool weather affect Walmart’s Q1

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Same store sales at Walmart’s U.S. stores declined 1.4% in the first quarter, but the retailer forecasts comps should rebound during the second quarter.

Sales were just below Wall Street expectations as the giant retailer struggled with a number of issues that impacted its U.S. sales, from the payroll tax increase to an unseasonably cold spring to delayed tax returns. The discounter also scaled back its earnings expectations for the current three-month period.

Net income rose 1.1% to $3.8 billion. Revenue edged up 1%, to $113.4 billion.

"Frankly, we had a more difficult quarter than expected when we announced our guidance in February,” said Walmart CEO Mike Duke on the company’s first quarter earnings conference call. “Sales were pressured primarily by delayed tax refunds, which caused customers to put off discretionary purchases. And though no one likes to talk about weather, it was a real factor across the United States.”

Comp traffic was down 1.8% and the average ticket increased 0.4%.

"Despite comps being lower than expected, we continued to generate market share gains," stated Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO. "According to The Nielsen Company, we gained 20 basis points of market share in the measured category of ‘food, consumables and health & wellness/OTC’ during the 13-weeks ended Apr. 27, 2013."

Simon was optimistic looking forward, and said that the second quarter is off to a good start, with positive comps.

"We continue to believe in the strength of our strategic plan to deliver a broad assortment with EDLP,” he said. “We also continue to monitor the impact of the 2% payroll tax increase.”

At Sam’s Club, sales rose 0.2%, while comp traffic was up 1.3%, while ticket was down 1.1% for the 13-week period ended April 26.

"Comp sales for the first quarter were impacted by unfavorable weather and less than expected inflation," stated Rosalind Brewer, Sam’s Club president and CEO. "Our business member is an integral part of our business, and comp sales and traffic patterns indicated that they remained pressured in the first quarter.”

In remarks released with the company’s results, Duke echoed Simon’s optimism.

“I’m confident about our long-term strategy and the direction Walmart is headed," he stated. "Our expectations about our U.S. businesses’ performance, coupled with more discipline in International, will allow us to improve our performance throughout the year."

Duke also noted that the chain’s e-commerce sales grew more than 30% in the first quarter versus last year.

"There is no doubt that our company is making the right investments in e-commerce to differentiate ourselves and become a better Walmart," said Duke. "And with our sales growth in the first quarter, we believe our investments are paying off."

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FINANCE

Wal-Mart’s Q1 sales, profit disappoints; issues tepid Q2 outlook

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores on Thursday reported profit and sales that were just below Wall Street expectations as the giant retailer struggled with a number of issues that impacted its U.S. sales, from the payroll tax increase to an unseasonably cold spring to delayed tax returns. The discounter also scaled back its earnings expectations for the current three-month period.

Wal-Mart’s net income rose 1.1% to $3.8 billion. Revenue edged up 1%, to $113.4 billion.

"Frankly, we had a more difficult quarter than expected when we announced our guidance in February,” said Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke on the company’s first quarter earnings conference call. “Sales were pressured primarily by delayed tax refunds, which caused customers to put off discretionary purchases. And though no one likes to talk about weather, it was a real factor across the United States… .”

Same-store sales in the United States fell 1.4%, while comp traffic was down 1.8% and the average ticket increased 0.4%.

"Despite comps being lower than expected, we continued to generate market share gains," stated Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO. "According to The Nielsen Company, we gained 20 basis points of market share in the measured category of ‘food, consumables and health & wellness/OTC’ during the 13-weeks ended Apr. 27, 2013."

Simon was optimistic looking forward, and said that the second quarter is off to a good start, with positive comps.

"We continue to believe in the strength of our strategic plan to deliver a broad assortment with EDLP,” he said. “We also continue to monitor the impact of the 2% payroll tax increase.”

At Sam’s Club, sales rose 0.2%, while comp traffic was up 1.3%, while ticket was down 1.1% for the 13-week period ended April 26.

"Comp sales for the first quarter were impacted by unfavorable weather and less than expected inflation," stated Rosalind Brewer, Sam’s Club president and CEO. "Our business member is an integral part of our business, and comp sales and traffic patterns indicated that they remained pressured in the first quarter.”

In remarks released with the company’s results, Duke echoed Simon’s optimism.

“I’m confident about our long-term strategy and the direction Walmart is headed," he stated. "Our expectations about our U.S. businesses’ performance, coupled with more discipline in International, will allow us to improve our performance throughout the year."

Duke also noted that the chain’s e-commerce sales grew more than 30% in the first quarter versus last year.

"There is no doubt that our company is making the right investments in e-commerce to differentiate ourselves and become a better Walmart," said Duke. "And with our sales growth in the first quarter, we believe our investments are paying off."

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