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Former Best Buy chief Dunn may get $3.2 million; investigation widens

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — According to a Wednesday filing by Best Buy, former CEO Brian Dunn may receive either $3.1 million or zero in termination payments following his highly publicized resignation.

The payout is dependent on whether or not Dunn is determined to have left voluntarily on April 9.

In the filing, Best Buy said it is reviewing Dunn’s compensation pending its investigation into his personal conduct.

The company also said it will make the results of the probe publicly available and will disclose the final terms of his departure once resolution is reached.

In related news, a report in the Minneapolis’s Star Tribune said that the electronics retailer has widened its investigation of Dunn, looking for evidence that some company executives improperly withheld allegations about his conduct from the Best Buy board of directors. Dunn is accused of using company resources to conduct an improper relationship with a female employee.

The report said that Best Buy’s investigative team is examining whether Dunn used company-leased aircraft in connection with the alleged improper relationship.

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First Data: April impacted by early Easter, but spring outlook is positive

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Atlanta — A Wednesday report by First Data found that April sales were negatively impacted by a March Easter, but that there has been an earlier start to the spring spending season.

According to First Data’s SpendTrend report, comparing April 2012 same-store consumer spending via credit, signature debit, PIN debit and EBT cards to the same period last year, the earlier Easter drew some purchases into March, while the unseasonably warm winter also pulled forward sales of spring merchandise. Higher wages and reduced consumer savings contributed to increased discretionary spending.

Overall year-over-year dollar volume growth was 5.7% in April, down from March’s 8.7% growth. Transaction growth slowed to 5.8% in April, down from 9.3% in March.

Despite the slowdown in overall year-over-year dollar volume and transaction growth, several discretionary spending categories, including Hotels, Travel and Restaurants, posted strong dollar volume growth in April.

And, although overall average ticket growth was slightly negative in April at -0.1%, it out-performed March’s -0.6% growth.

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Kohl’s Q1 profit disappoints; on track to open 10, remodel 50 stores in 2011

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Menomonee Falls, Wis. — Kohl’s Corp. reported Thursday that first-quarter profit fell 23% on aggressive price cuts, falling to $154 million from $201 million in the year-ago period. Results met internal expectations and goals, but missed Wall Street estimates.

Sales for the quarter ended April 28 edged up 1.9% to $4.2 billion, meeting analysts’ estimates. Same-store sales inched up 0.2%.

According to CEO Kevin Mansell, the department store retailer is adjusting inventories and managing expense to position Kohl’s for sales improvements for the fall season, although the second-quarter profit outlook has been lowered.

Kohl’s said it is on track to open 10 more stores this fall, as well as remodel another 50 in 2012.

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