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Nook cost-cutting boosts Q3 profit at Barnes & Noble

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Cost-cutting and margin improvement in the struggling Nook e-reader segment helped Barnes & Noble Inc. boost consolidated net earnings 14% to $72 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2015, compared to $63 million in the year-ago period.

Consolidated revenue slipped 1% to $1.39 billion from $1.4 billion. Same store sales at Barnes & Noble Inc. (excluding Nook) increased 1.7%.

Michael P. Huseby, CEO of Barnes & Noble Inc., said the retailer’s quarterly performance reinforces the decision to separate the Barnes & Noble college bookstore business from the rest of the company.

“We are pleased with the performance of our businesses,” said Huseby. “This performance across all businesses further supports our belief that now is the right time to separate the college business. The separation will allow each business to optimize their strategic opportunities, given their respective growth profiles, and specifically enable college to pursue opportunities in the growing educational services market.”

Barnes & Noble announced plans in February to separate its college bookstore business from its main retail business by August. The company has been adding toys, games and other non-book items to its bookstores to boost sales.

For fiscal 2015, the company expects same store sales to decline in the low-single digits. The company also expects full fiscal year EBITDA losses in the Nook segment to decline versus the prior year.

Barnes & Noble operates 649 stores in 50 states.

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Kohl’s is tops for shopping for clothes in Piper Jaffray survey

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston – Kohl’s will be pleased to hear that women love shopping for clothes there. According to a new survey from Piper Jaffray, a leading 12% of female consumers selected Kohl’s as their preferred clothing brand/store/website for spring 2015. Macy’s took second place with 9%, followed by J.C. Penney and Wal-Mart (7%) and Amazon (5%).

Kohl’s has taken the top spot in Piper Jaffray’s biannual survey since fall 2013.

Amazon was the most popular new brand/store/website women are starting to buy clothes from by a wide margin (13%) compared to second-place Kohl’s (5%). Amazon also held the top spot in fall and spring 2014, although Kohl’s was number one in this category in fall 2013. Other leading new clothes retailers included Wal-Mart (3%), Macy’s (2%) and Zulily (2%).

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Survey: Small businesses optimistic, seek higher revenue

BY Dan Berthiaume

Framingham, Mass. – The majority of small business leaders (87%) are optimistic about the year ahead. According to a recent Staples small business survey conducted online by Research Now, leaders are focused on results, with the top three small business goals in 2015 consisting of increasing revenue (76%), driving profits (70%) and gaining more customers (70%).

Promotional marketing (46%), better organization (38%) and software technology upgrades (35%) are the top tactics small businesses plan to use to meet these goals.

Other notable findings include:

• 25% of small businesses plan to increase technology use to help manage business costs.

• Nearly half of small businesses (47%) want to stop spending money on ineffective marketing and promotional campaigns.

• More than two-thirds (68%) want to attract more customers this year, and more than one third (38%) want to retain current customers longer.

• About one-third (32%) report they want to provide bonuses to their employees as part of their 2015 plan, and 29% said they want to give their employees a raise.

• The majority of small business leaders are both bargain hunters in their personal life (88%) as well as at their business (85%).

• Most small businesses leaders (79%) want to use vendors that offer rewards and points that can be used toward future purchases.

• More than one-third of small business leaders want to grow their business by expanding their product line or services.

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