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Della Valle increases stake in Saks

BY CSA STAFF

New York City A report released Thursday by the Financial Times said that Diego Della Valle, the Italian owner of luxury shoe brand Tod’s, has increased his shares in Saks to just under 20% and may seek a position on the retailer’s board.

In a regulatory filing, Della Valle said he may hold discussions with both management and other leading shareholders on “potential strategies for strengthening and further enhancing” Saks’ operations.

The filing said he and his investment company might also “decide to become strategic and long-term shareholders of the issuer and, in such case, they would consider seeking representation on the board of directors” of Saks.

Della Valle first took a significant stake in Saks in April last year, and announced on Monday that he had increased his holding to just over 11%. This latest increase makes him Saks’ largest shareholder and places him just below the level to trigger a poison pill shareholder rights agreement.

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Starbucks launches in-store digital network

BY CSA STAFF

Seattle — Starbucks on Wednesday launched an in-store digital network for customers with mobile devices, in a partnership with Yahoo.

The network will provide customers with six channels: News, Entertainment, Wellness, Business & Careers, My Neighborhood and Starbucks. It is powered by free WiFi and developed for screens big and small. Customers with WiFi enabled laptops, tablets or smartphones can visit the network while in line or while enjoying their favorite beverage in the cafe.

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Report charts Walmart’s banking strategy

BY CSA STAFF

Madison, Wis. — A new report maps out the shape of Walmart’s retail financial services footprint in the United States and Mexico. The study, The Blended Walmart Business Model, published by the Filene Research Institute and written by Robert Manning, PhD, knits together the many angles of Walmart’s involvement in banking services: from its 2007 charter travails to its foray into Mexican banking and, most importantly, to its long-term strategy of providing financial services to ever more of its many customers — with or without a formal bank charter.

The report makes the case that Walmart still wants a bank charter. The potential from finance and penalty fees combined with interchange fee savings’ could easily garner more than $1.3 billion annually from Walmart’s payment card system and portfolio of customer credit-card balances, according to the study.

The study suggests Walmart’s plan is advancing even without a U.S. bank charter, and notes that while the retailer currently mainly offers ancillary financial products, it may soon operate in the more traditional business model of deposits and loans.

The nonprofit Filene Research Institute is a consumer finance think tank serving the North American credit union system of 100 million members and $950 billion in assets.

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