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Office Depot swings to profit in Q3

BY CSA STAFF

Boca Raton, Fla. Office Depot reported Wednesday that it swung to a third-quarter profit of $54 million, compared with a loss of $413 million in the year-ago period.

Sales for the quarter ended Sept. 25 decreased 4% to $2.9 billion.

The office supply retailer reduced its operating expenses for the quarter by 8%.

“We are pleased with our strong cash flow performance in the third quarter which was driven by both earnings and good working capital management,” said Mike Newman, Office Depot’s CFO. “We have been executing very well across the entire enterprise as we focus on returning to sales growth and delivering improved profit as we go forward.”

By division, revenue for the North American Retail Division in the third quarter dipped 1% to $1.3 billion. Same-store sales in the United States and Canada were flat.

International division revenue decreased 10% to $778 million.

During the quarter, Office Depot closed five stores and opened three new stores, bringing the total store count in North America to 1,150.

On Oct. 25, Office Depot announced that chairman and CEO Steve Odland resigned effective Nov. 1. Neil R. Austrian, lead director, will serve as interim chairman and CEO, while the board conducts a search for a permanent replacement, and Odland will remain as a consultant through Dec. 31.

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Sears store takes second place in EPA contest

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings announced that the Sears store in Glen Burnie, Md., won second place in the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) first-ever National Building Competition. The competition challenged teams from fourteen buildings across the country to measure their energy use and work off the waste with help from the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.

According to Sears Holdings, the Glen Burnie store achieved 31.7% reduction in energy use, $45,612 savings on its energy bills and reduced its carbon footprint by more than 272 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

“We are extremely proud of the Glen Burnie team, but this is just one example of our many sustainability initiatives,” said Bruce Johnson, interim president and CEO.  He added, “Sears Holdings is committed to continuing to explore new ways to conserve natural resources and reduce waste while also saving money.  We are proud of the strides we’re making and our efforts toward becoming a green company.”

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Survey: DROID, iPad among hot holiday gadgets

BY CSA STAFF

LOS ANGELES According to a new PriceGrabber survey the Motorola DROID smartphone, Apple iPad and Xbox 360 will be among the most sought-after gadgets this holiday season.

“Shoppers have become very smart over the past few years, forcing intense rivalry among popular manufacturers. This year, we expect to see an uptick in product wars and especially fierce competition around new product releases in the categories of mobile phones, tablets, DSLR cameras and 3-D televisions,” stated Laura Conrad, president of PriceGrabber. “We expect all of the products on the PriceGrabber top products list to succeed in winning the consumer dollar during the 2010 holiday shopping season.”

Other hot gadgets for 2010, according to PriceGrabber include the Canon EOS Rebel DSLR camera, the Samsung 55-inch 3-D LED television and the Apple TV.

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