FINANCE

Office Depot reaches settlement in Colorado

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Office Depot has reached an agreement with Colorado’s attorney general to offer a refund to about 115 Colorado governmental agencies and nonprofits in connection with the sale of office supplies between January 2006 and March 2009, the Denver Business Journal reported.

The agreement calls for the chain to refund customers as much as $189,000.

Following a yearlong investigation, the attorney general of Colorado alleged that the customers were placed on a higher-cost price plan, either without their knowledge or without complete information about the cost differences between the price plans available to customers, the report said.

Office Depot agreed to pay a total of $412,000 to the state of Colorado, $189,441.06 of which will be used to reimburse customers. The remaining $222,561.94 and any interest will be used for reimbursement of the state’s costs and attorney fees, as well as consumer education or other antitrust enforcement actions.

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Shoppers stayed away in May

BY CSA STAFF

Target isn’t off to a great start in the second quarter- with a same store sale increase of 2.8% that was toward the low end of the company’s guidance range that called for a low to mid-single digit increase. The company also fell short of its comp guidance in April.

“May sales were near the low end of our expected range, driven by a much slower traffic trend in the second half of the month,” according to Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel. His were an interesting choice of words to describe shopper traffic that wasn’t just characterized as slower, but much slower.

As other retailers have noted, high gas prices have not only put a squeeze on discretionary expenditures, but shoppers are consolidating trips, which helps explain why larger average transactions size accounted for the comp growth.

“Our guests continue to shop cautiously in light of higher energy costs and inflationary pressures on their household budgets. As a result, we’re focused on delivering more value than ever by offering reliably low prices on high quality, well-designed merchandise both in our stores and at Target.com,” Steinhafel said.

Food and consumables continue to be the primary drivers of the company’s results and that was the case again in May and is likely to be the case throughout the summer, especially if gas prices sustain themselves above $4 a gallon.

For Target, grocery comps were in the mid-teens while mid and high single digit gains were evident in healthcare, beauty and household essentials. Apparel comps were also up slightly.

=As for same-store sales expectation during June, Target is sticking with guidance in the low to mid-single digit range despite the persistence of challenging economic conditions which have caused the company to come up short or at the low end of similar guidance the past few months.

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ShopNBC names fulfillment VP

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS — ValueVision Media, a premium interactive retailer via TV, Internet, mobile and social media, operating under the "ShopNBC" brand, announced that Nathan Martin, has been appointed VP fulfillment.

Martin joins ShopNBC with nearly two decades of manufacturing and distribution experience. Most recently, he served as assistant general manager at United Stationers Supply Company. Previously, he held management positions at Cost Plus, QVC, and Verbatim Memory Corporation.

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