FINANCE

Home Depot 3Q Profit Tumbles 31%

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta Following Tuesday’s news that The Home Depot had experienced third-quarter sales drops in excess of 6%, the home-improvement retailer announced that 3Q profits took a big tumble—down 31%, from year-ago profits of $1.09 billion to $756 million for the three months ended Nov. 2.

“This is a difficult environment,” CEO Frank Blake said. “The view we had at the start of the quarter, that we might be nearing the bottom, gave way to the financial crisis in September and beyond.”

Same-store sales fell 8.3% during the period.

Home Depot’s results came a day after a surprising third-quarter report from competitor Lowe’s Cos. Inc., which topped Wall Street analysts’ profit estimates, even as earnings skidded more than 24% because shoppers were postponing big-ticket purchases.

Home Depot still expects earnings per share from continuing operations to decline 24% for the fiscal year. The guidance does not include a charge from closing 15 stores and removing 50 stores from its growth plans.

The company now expects a sharper drop in sales for the year. Home Depot said its sales could drop by as much as 8%. Previously, the company had said it expected a decline of 5% for the year.

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Bath & Body Works exec joins Timex board

BY CSA STAFF

MIDDLEBURY, Conn. Timex Group B.V. announced that Camille McDonald, Bath & Body Works’ president of brand development and merchandising, and a 30-year veteran of the beauty industry, has joined the company’s board of directors.

“Camille McDonald is a prolific and multidimensional leader whose competencies and experience encompass product and brand development, sales, integrated marketing functions and general management—in both broad-based and luxury segments—for wholesale as well as retail businesses,” said Anette Olsen, chairman of Timex Group. “We are excited to welcome her to the Timex Group board of directors.”

Since joining Bath & Body Works in August 2004 as evp of brand development and merchandising, McDonald has worked with cross-functional teams to reinvent the multibillion dollar personal care specialty retailer into a beauty juggernaut of the world’s best and biggest brands in fragrance, skin care, hair, apothecary and spa. During her time with the company, Bath & Body Works has delivered a record performance.

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Walmart draws attention to food deals

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Walmart announced that as part of its Operation Main Street program, it will reduce food prices every week to help offset the cost of Christmas. According to the company, this will save Americans more than $200 million over and above its everyday low prices this holiday.

To alert shoppers about its latest savings, Walmart has launched “Saving Alerts,” a service that enables customers to learn about the latest discounts via free text messages to their cell phones. In addition, Walmart’s Ad Match policy assures customers that their Walmart will match any local competitor’s advertised price on the exact same item, alleviating the need for shoppers to drive all over town to get the very best value.

“We want all customers shopping our food aisles this season to know the trust they have in us to help them save money is well placed,” said Jack Sinclair, evp of grocery, at Walmart Stores US. “Last year we saved families an average of $700 on the same packaged grocery items sold at other supermarkets. We plan to keep on helping families stretch their dollars this holiday with prices that make a meaningful difference to their budget.” .

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