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MTI-Andrews Introduces Encrypted Key to Prevent Retail Theft

BY CSA STAFF

Hillsboro, Ore.-based MTI-Andrews has introduced a “SmartKey,” a new, programmable, encrypted key and switch system that maximizes access to products while minimizing the risk of theft.

SmartKey affords store employees the ability to disarm a merchandising display’s security alarms for a designated period of time before the system automatically rearms itself. Additionally, the key can be programmed to only work for a specific period of time before having to be reactivated, making it impossible for keys to be copied and passed along to others. The system will be available in the second quarter of this year.

Smart Key provides two levels of permissions: manager mode, which has more flexibility and security clearances built-in, and employee mode, which only gives access to merchandise displays for a designated time period.

Employees are given their own programmed keys, each of which is encoded to his or her employee ID number. At the beginning of each shift, the manager programs each SmartKey that is to be deployed. At the end of the specified period, the SmartKey automatically deactivates, rendering it useless.

If a key is lost or stolen during its active period, it can be remotely deactivated at any time by either the store manager or from the retailer’s corporate office.

SmartKey also prevents internal theft by employees who might attempt accessing merchandise displays at another retail branch while the key is active. The receiver at the corresponding store will recognize the employee’s smart key as being “stolen,” lock the system, deactivate the key, and alert the system operator.

If an employee fails to rearm the security system, SmartKey can be programmed to have the security system automatically re-arm itself after a customizable time period.

www.mti-interactive.com

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Earnings to face extra scrutiny

BY CSA STAFF

Look for first-quarter financial results due out tomorrow from Target to be scrutinized even more closely than normal, as undecided investors in the company’s proxy contest get a new set of numbers on which to base their vote.

Swing voters may be disappointed, however, as the company already revealed it would beat analysts’ estimates of earnings per share of 52 cents that were in place at the time the company reported a slight uptick in April same-store sales. Analysts’ now project the company will earn 59 cents a share. The company’s top line challenges are well documented, as such discretionary categories as home and apparel remain under pressure, and monthly results for the quarter have already been reported. Improvements in profitability therefore will come largely as a result of expense control. That’s not as good as driving profits through sales, but it could be enough to persuade swing voters to side with the company’s existing slate of directors.

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Court approves sale of Sharper Image

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has approved the sale of Sharper Image. The court agreed to allow the company to sell all or part of its assets at an auction to be held on May 28.

In connection with those procedures, the court also authorized the companys entry into an asset purchase agreement and an agency agreement, each dated May 13, with a joint venture of Gordon Brothers Retail Partners, GB Brands, Hilco Merchant Resources, and Hilco Consumer Capital. Hilco/GB Joint Venture will serve as a stalking horse bidder for the purposes of the auction.

On April 24, Sharper Image reported that it has decided to pursue a sale of its business and assets pursuant to the provisions of the bankruptcy code and will solicit indications of interest from potential acquirers.

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