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Ex-Aeropostale executive found guilty on all 16 counts

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Christopher Finazzo, 57, who was an executive VP and chief merchandising officer at Aeropostale, was found guilty on Thursday of 14 counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. He faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the fraud convictions and up to five years for the conspiracy charge.

The jury took less than five hours to reach the verdict, which came after a three-week criminal trial in Brooklyn, N.Y.

All of the counts were related to an alleged multi-million dollar kickback plot. Prosecutors said Finazzo had entered into an illegal deal with Douglas Dey, controlling owner of South Bay Apparel, which was at the time a major clothing supplier for the company.

Under the arrangement, Finazzo purchased more than $350 million in T-shirt and fleece items from South Bay on behalf of the company, the prosecutors said. Aeropostale overpaid for the merchandise and Finazzo and his friend Dey shared the revenue, the government alleges.

In September, Dey, who was also charged, pled guilty to a conspiracy charge, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. He is awaiting sentencing.

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Cabela’s profit surges 73% on guns and ammo sales

BY Marianne Wilson

Sidney, Neb. — Cabela’s first quarter profit rose 72.9%, topping expectations, on strong sales of firearms and ammunition. Net income rose to $49.8 million, up from $28.8 million in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue increased 28.7% to $802.5 million from $623.5 million last year. Analysts expected revenue of $770.5 million.

"First quarter results exceeded our expectations on every line of the income statement," said CEO Tommy Millner. "In addition to expected increases in firearms and ammunition sales, we saw particularly strong performance in softgoods and footwear.”

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Weis Markets ups cap ex budget to support remodels and tech investments

BY Marianne Wilson

Sunbury, Pa. — Weis Markets announced it would invest $135 million in its 2013 capital expenditure program, an 8% increase compared to the year prior.

“To position our company for continued growth, we have made record investments in our store base,” and vice chairman Jonathan H. Weis, at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. “Look for more of the same in 2013 when we increase our Cap Ex investment to $135 million – an 8% increase compared to 2012 – and a 33% increase compared to 2011.”

In 2013, the company is planning 37 major projects including four new stores, 15 major remodels and 17 remodels.

“By the end of 2013, we will have invested nearly half a billion dollars in our growth and will have completed more than 100 projects. Our cap ex program also includes record level investments in our information technology infrastructure,” said company president and CEO David J. Hepfinger “Improving our decision support and measurement capabilities are essential to our growth and future profitability.”

According to Hepfinger, supply chain and improving service are also key areas of focus for the retailer.

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