FINANCE

GameStop board approves $500 million in buybacks

BY CSA STAFF

Grapevine, Texas — GameStop Corp. said Friday its board has approved buying back up to $500 million worth of the company’s stock and bonds over the next 18 months.

The retailer said the new $500 million allotment will replace a previous $300 million already set aside for buybacks, of which $138.4 million was left to spend. Stock buybacks reduce the number of outstanding shares, which boosts per-share earnings and expands the size if current shareholders’ stakes.

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comScore: Online spending strong in Q4

BY CSA STAFF

RESTON, Va. — According to comScore’s Q4 2010 U.S. retail e-commerce sales estimates, online retail spending reached a record $43.4 billion for the quarter, up 11% versus year ago. This growth rate represented the fifth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and second quarter of double-digit growth rates in the past year.

"Retail e-commerce had a strong fourth quarter, growing 11% versus last year as holiday season spending was bolstered by an improving sentiment among some consumer segments and by retailers’ discounting and promotions," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "The 2010 holiday season saw the first billion-dollar day on record and several more surpassing $900 million to help propel Q4 to record spending levels. We anticipate that the progress we’ve seen in the past year as we climbed out of the recession will continue with sustained double-digit growth rates in 2011."

The top-performing online product categories were Computer Software (excl. PC Games), Consumer Electronics, Books & Magazines (excl. digital downloads), Computers/Peripherals/PDAs, and Toys & Hobbies. Each of the aforementioned categories grew at least 15% in Q4 2010 vs. year ago.

The top 25 online retailers accounted for 68.4 percent of dollars spent online, up 5.6 percentage points vs. year ago. However, this percentage represented a decline from Q3 2010, during which the top 25 retailers accounted for 69.9 percent of dollars, an indication that small and mid-sized retailers are also rebounding from the recession.

84% of U.S. Internet users conducted an online transaction in Q4 2010, up from 78 percent last year. The average buyer spent about the same amount online during the most recent quarter as they did last year.

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Despite confidence in economy, survey finds consumers not spending more this Valentine’s Day

BY CSA STAFF

LOS ANGELES— According to PriceGrabber survey on consumer purchasing decisions for Valentine’s Day, 52% of Valentine’s Day shoppers indicate that the economy will not have any effect on their purchasing decisions for Valentine’s Day 2011. Despite their confidence in the economy,78% of survey respondents indicate they will not spend more money on Valentine’s Day shopping this year compared with last year. The remaining 22% of consumers plan to spend more on Valentine’s Day shopping this year.

The most popular Valentine’s Day expense among women was greeting cards, with 62% of female Valentine’s Day shoppers planning to purchase greeting cards this year. Forty-two percent of female shoppers anticipate spending money on an evening out, and 26%will purchase candy.

For male survey respondents, the most popular Valentine’s Day expense was an evening out, selected by 53%. Forty-five percent of male respondents plan to spend money on greeting cards. Forty-five percent plan to spend money on flowers, and 18% plan to spend money on candy this Valentine’s Day.

The PriceGrabber (a part of Experian) survey was conducted from Jan. 12 to Jan. 26 and polled 2,458 U.S. online consumers who plan to spend money on a Valentine’s Day celebration.

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