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Nike and HireVue team to roll out campus recruiting program

BY CSA STAFF

Salt Lake City — Video interviewing solution-provider HireVue said Thursday that Nike has selected it to support its campus recruiting program, adding HireVue’s video interviewing platform to Nike’s recruiting process.

Nike’s current campus recruiting process screens and interviews qualified candidates for a wide range of open positions — in marketing, sales, merchandising, strategic planning, supply chain and IT — from over 20 undergraduate, MBA and law programs across the country. They presently employ a multi-tiered approach that leverages the Nike brand.

The HireVue Interview Management platform gives users the ability to schedule and capture video interviews and then evaluate candidates over the Internet.

“We have a short time frame during which candidates can interact with hiring managers,” said Ernest Adams, global talent acquisition manager, Collegiate and Diversity Programs at Nike. “With HireVue’s technology, candidates can have their side of the interview on their own time, and our hiring managers can see potential candidates in action, which will improve the quality of our new hires.”

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What analysts said about Walmart

BY CSA STAFF

Analysts don’t like surprises, especially the negative kind, where results are worse than forecast, so there wasn’t a lot of love for Walmart earlier this week after the company reported a disappointing 1.8% fourth quarter comp decline. Never mind that earnings per share exceeded consensus estimate by three cents, analysts were clearly peeved by the top line shortfall at the stores division, and having been burned by the company’s earlier guidance expressed little confidence in the company’s ability to deliver on its strategic objectives.

Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Dreher, who has a hold rating on Walmart, had this to say about the company: “Walmart’s core customer remains economically challenged, and begrudges Walmart’s recent merchandising errors. This will likely trump inflation and we model fiscal year 2011 comps flat. Today’s report also raised investor fears that EPS results on cost cuts may become more difficult to achieve in 2011. We see little Walmart can do quickly to drive shares higher as they struggle to define a new strategy and correct past errors.”

Meanwhile, J.P. Morgan analyst Charles Grom, in a research note titled, “Bentonville…We have a problem,” said it appeared the issues facing Walmart were far worse that imagined the prior week when the firm downgraded the company to neutral and suggest investors move to the sidelines.

“To this end, we’re increasingly concerned that many of the key culprits behind the unfavorable trends (i.e. weak traffic, lost share in key consumable categories, and discretionary weakness) are likely to persist not only in 1Q, but perhaps the balance of the year,” said Grom.

“Said differently, Wal-Mart appears to have alienated or displaced many low income and upper income shoppers over the past few years through its wide array of merchandise assortment changes. Unfortunately, once that customer has found a replacement shop, it can be very challenging to recover — ask Safeway or Supervalu.”

Over at Sanford Bernstein, Colin McGranahan said, “With traffic in the U.S. still negative, consumables comps turning negative, and discretionary categories remaining weak, it’s hard to see any signs of improvement from the merchandising reversals and initiatives undertaken earlier in the year.”

He also commented that the four-point plan announced by Walmart U.S president and CEO Bill Simon to improve the productivity of existing stores was hardly revolutionary and questioned whether incremental change would yield anything other than incremental results.

“Clearly, a better spending environment for the low-end consumer would help, but that is likely to take some time, while higher prices for gas, food, apparel, etc. are likely to impact materially lower-end consumer discretionary spending,” according to McGranahan.

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Sam’s Club pleased with its results

BY CSA STAFF

Members shopped Sam’s Club more often and spent more on each trip during the fourth quarter, propelling Sam’s to a 2.7% same-store sales increase, while operating profits were flat. The forecast for the first quarter calls for same-store sales to increase between 1% and 3%.

Sales for the quarter increased 4.4% to $13.1 billion and were aided greatly by increased fuel costs, which added $1.2 billion to quarterly sales. For the year, Sam’s total sales increased 3.5% to nearly $50 billion. The impact of higher gasoline prices was also evident in same-store sales, as comps were 4.5% if the beneficial effect of higher year-over-year gas prices was included. The sales growth did not translate to higher operating profits however, as the $487 million in operating income reported for the period was slightly higher than the prior year’s fourth quarter, and membership income was flat.

Sam’s Club president and CEO Brian Cornell characterized the division’s performance as strong and said he was very pleased with the results.

For the year, Sam’s sales excluding fuel increased 1.4% to $45.2 billion and operating profits increased 1.3% to $1.7 billion.

Sam’s experienced minimal expansion last year with just four new clubs opened, but 65 clubs were remodeled. A similar number of remodels are planned for this year but the number of new clubs will increased to a range of between seven and 12 units.

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