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Lowe’s Q1 profit falls 5.7% as sales drop; cuts outlook

BY CSA STAFF

Mooresville, N.C. — Lowe’s Cos. said Monday its first-quarter profit fell 6%, due in part by bad weather and difficult economic conditions. The chain cut its full-year outlook.

Lowe’s reported net income of $461 million for the three months ended April 29, down from $489 million a year earlier. Its results missed estimates. Revenue fell 2% to $12.19 billion. Same-store sales were down 3.3%.

Heavy rain and severe conditions, including reports of 875 tornadoes, characterized April’s weather, cut into home improvement work in some parts of the country. It was the tenth wettest April since 1895.

“During the quarter, we faced ongoing economic pressures, unfavorable weather conditions and tough comparisons to last year’s government stimulus programs,” said chairman and CEO Robert Niblock said in a statement. “While we are focused on competing effectively in the current environment, we are also working diligently on our commitment to deliver better customer experiences,” Niblock said. “We are building momentum in 2011 behind our transformation from a home-improvement retailer to a home improvement company.”

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Hershey names SVP, chief people officer

BY CSA STAFF

HERSHEY, Pa. — Kevin Walling has joined confectioner Hershey’s team as its SVP and chief people officer, effective June 1.

In his new role, Walling will serve as the chief architect for Hershey’s human resources, talent retention, development and recruitment, as well as total rewards strategies.

Walling, who joins Hershey from global technology and manufacturing company Kennametal, will report to Hershey president and CEO David West.

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Report: Wal-Mart and Massmart may end talks

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Wal-Mart Stores may give up its quest to buy a controlling stake in South Africa’s Massmart Holdings Ltd., if South Africa forces local procurement conditions on the retailers, the companies said, the Associated Press reported.

Wal-Mart’s bid to buy 51% of Massmart has been opposed by the South African government and labor unions worried about jobs and protecting local manufacturers and suppliers. During hearings before South Africa’s Competition Tribuna, some government officials have joined foreign activists in arguing the deal should be rejected unless Wal-Mart is required to take steps to protect jobs. But Wal-Mart said requiring it to buy an undetermined percentage of South African goods — to protect local manufacturing jobs — would give an unfair advantage to competitors not subject to such conditions.

“The parties may reluctantly walk away from the deal if there are conditions on local procurement,” Jeremy Gauntlett, senior counsel for the two companies, said at antitrust hearings in Pretoria on Monday, the report said.

Imposing conditions that Wal-Mart buy South African goods will contravene international trade accords and give competitors an unfair advantage, Gauntlett said.

Wal-Mart and Massmart made some concessions Monday, pledging not to lay off any Massmart employees for the next two years and to respect Massmart’s existing labor agreements for as long as the tribunal says is necessary, the Associated Press said.

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