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Nordstrom Q1 income surges 25%; rolling out mobile checkout devices

BY CSA STAFF

Seattle — Nordstrom reported Thursday that its first-quarter net income rose 25% on improved revenue. But the company lowered its full-year outlook to reflect the impact of its acquisition of private-sale website HauteLook.

Nordstrom said it earned $145 million for the quarter that ended April 30, up from $116 million in the same quarter last year. (The figure includes a charge related to the HauteLook acquisition.) Revenue increased 12% to $2.23 billion. Same-store sales were up 6.5%.

The company reported stronger sales at its traditional retail stores, online and at its discount Nordstrom Rack stores.

As reported earlier, Nordstrom is rolling out 5,000 to 6,000 handheld mobile-checkout devices to its sales associates by this July. The devices allow sales associates to search entire inventory in real time for shoppers. Sales staff also will be able to scan an item, and customers can pay using their credit card.

"We’re excited about our prospects in mobile and e-commerce," said Blake Nordstrom, the company’s president, in an address to analysts during a conference call following the earnings release. "Online has been the fastest growing part of our business, and there is significant potential to drive more sales and improve service in this area."

The company announced Thursday that it will repurchase up to $750 million of its outstanding shares through 2013. This is in addition to its existing repurchase program, under which it has $235 million remaining for buybacks.

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Wal-Mart buying minority stake in Chinese online retailer

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores is buying a minority stake in online company Yihaodian, which sells groceries, consumer electronics, clothing and other items. Terms of the deal and the size of the stake were not disclosed.

The deal will help expand the Wal-Mart’s reach into China, where it has 328 stores (as of Dec. 31, 2010).

"Online sales in China are growing rapidly and are projected to match U.S. online sales in the next few years. By investing in Yihaodian, we’re continuing to establish a presence in this important e-commerce market, and are moving forward on fulfilling our aspiration of being the leading global multichannel retailer," Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce and Global Sourcing, said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close within 60 days.

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Michaels gets a handle on security breach

BY CSA STAFF

IRVING, Texas — Michaels announced that it has removed the PIN pad tampering threat from its U.S. stores and believes it has identified the time frame that customer information was exposed. Based on the latest information available, exposed PIN pad transactions occurred from Feb. 8 through May 6, the date Michaels disabled the tampered devices.

"We are confident Michaels is a safe place to shop," said Michaels CEO John Menzer. "We want to express how deeply we regret any issues experienced by our loyal customers who have been affected in any way, and thank all our customers for their support."

According to the company, though the investigation is ongoing, as of May 12, fewer than 100 customer PIN debit cards have been reported used in fraudulent transactions.

While credit card information may also have been exposed during that time frame, law enforcement officials have not received any reports of related credit card fraud, Michaels reported.

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