OPERATIONS

eBay boosts mobile offerings with new partnerships

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Barcelona — eBay on Monday announced a number of strategic moves including a new partnership with major carrier Three.co.uk; integrations with merchants such as Yotel and Entradas.com; and mobile app updates that evolve mobile commerce selling and shopping experiences for consumers.

In 2011, eBay mobile commerce generated $5 billion in retail volume, and PayPal mobile generated $4 billion in payment volume. eBay’s mobile apps have been downloaded more than 70 million times, according to the company. In 2012, eBay expects to do $8 billion in mobile commerce retail volume, and PayPal expects to process $7 billion in mobile payment volume.

“Mobile commerce is changing the way people shop and pay, and the ways in which merchants of all sizes engage consumers,” said John Donahoe, eBay Inc. president and CEO. “We’re seeing a new retail paradigm emerge through mobile. Consumers are in control, and they want to shop anytime, anywhere. That creates opportunity.”

eBay and Three.co.uk have partnered to deliver mobile devices pre-loaded with eBay apps, bringing the mobile shopping experience directly to consumers. With this deal, Android smartphones on the United Kingdom’s fastest growing network will now come with eBay’s mobile app directly on the device.

PayPal launched on Monday the PayPal Carrier Payment Network, to make mobile carrier payments more viable for a wider number of online merchants. PayPal will work with its more than 250 carriers and more than1,500 digital goods merchants to expand the carrier payment experience. PayPal teamed up with Spain’s leading ticketing company, Entradas.com, to allow consumers to buy tickets with a mobile phone and PayPal, and also collaborated with Yotel to allow consumers to soon book rooms via PayPay on a smartphone.

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FINANCE

Sears to close six stores in Illinois, months after getting tax credit

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Two months after Sears Holdings Corp. received a $150 million Illinois tax credit for cementing its plans to keep its home base in the state, it announced Monday that it would close six stores in Illinois.

The retailer had already announced in December – two weeks after the tax credit – that it would close 100 to 120 stores, but no Illinois stores were on the initial list.

Sears laid off 100 headquarters employees earlier in February, but said the terminations did not violate the terms of the tax credit, which require that the retailer keep at least 4,250 jobs in state.

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FINANCE

Lowe’s Q4 profit up 13%, to open 10 stores in 2012

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Mooresville, N.C. — Lowe’s Cos. reported Monday that profit for the quarter ended Feb. 3 rose 13% to $322 million, compared with $285 million a year earlier. Results topped Wall Street expectations and demonstrated an upward consumer swing in home-improvement projects.

Quarterly sales increased 11% to $11.6 billion from $10.5 billion, beating analysts’ expectations of $11.35 billion in revenue. Same-store sales rose 3.4%.

“In 2012, we will capitalize on refinements we have made to our operating strategies, as well as our efforts to improve the customer experience,” said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO.

For the full year, the company said profit dipped 8.5% to $1.8 billion, sales edged up 2.9% to $50.2 billion, and same-store sales were flat.

Lowe’s said it expects to open approximately 10 stores in fiscal year 2012.

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