FINANCE

H-E-B Adds Payment Kiosks

BY CSA STAFF

San Antonio H.E. Butt Grocery Co. will feature bill payment and financial services kiosks in 26 of its Texas-based stores.

The self-service units will enable shoppers to make payments on their wireless, utility, cable and other personal accounts without cashier intervention. Shoppers can also purchase pre-paid products and services, and reload pre-paid debit cards directly through the kiosks.

“With these kiosks, we hope to provide our customers with a convenient service that enhances their one-stop shopping experience in our stores,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B group VP, public affairs and diversity.

The units, which are expected to be available in stores by early spring, will be located near H-E-B’s Business Centers. They are expected to alleviate payment traffic during peak times, according to a company statement.

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Wal-Mart job cuts begin

BY CSA STAFF

Rumors of additional layoffs at Wal-Mart circulated throughout Northwest Arkansas this morning as employees in the retailer’s information systems division and human resources group learned they were being let go. Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar explained the jobs cuts were a continuation of announcement last week that Wal-Mart planned to eliminate 700 to 800 positions and did not represent additional cuts above that amount.

 

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JCPenney beats 4Q earnings guidance, expects 1Q loss

BY CSA STAFF

PLANO, Texas JCPenney reported 2008 fourth quarter operating income of $389 million and earnings from continuing operations of 94 cents per share, compared to recent guidance for earnings to be in a range of 90 cents to 93 cents per share. For the full year, operating income was $1.13 billion, or 6.1%of sales, and earnings from continuing operations were $2.54 per share.

 Total sales in the fourth quarter decreased 9.8% compared to last year, while comparable-store sales decreased 10.8%. The strongest merchandise results were in women’s apparel and family shoes and, geographically, the best performance was in the Southwest region of the country. The weakest results were in fine jewelry and in the Southeast region.

For the first quarter of 2009, JCPenney expects total sales to decrease 10% to 13% and a loss in the range of 20 cents to 30 cents per share.

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