FINANCE

RadioShack posts surprise Q2 loss, suspends dividend

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Fort Worth, Texas — RadioShack Corp. reported Wednesday its worst quarter since 1996, posting a loss of $21 million in the second quarter compared with a profit of $24.9 million in the same quarter last year.

Sales inched up 1.2% to $953.2 million in the quarter, missing Wall Street’s forecasted $970.4 million in revenue, and same-store sales were flat.

Analysts say the electronics retailer has made a tactical error in placing its bets on selling tablets and smartphones, which ramped up selling costs some 16% in the second quarter.

RadioShack said Wednesday it would not pay a dividend – for the first time in 25 years.

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FINANCE

Survey: More consumers budgeting for back-to-school shopping

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Wilmington, Del. — A survey released Wednesday by Chase Slate with Blueprint revealed that more back-to-school shoppers are carefully managing their spending and borrowing by creating a budget and sticking to it.

Thirty-eight percent report that they have a set budget for school-related expenses; in 2011, only 26% of people had created a budget for their back-to-school shopping. In addition, 32% anticipate their spending on back-to-school shopping this year to reflect pre-recession figures.

“Consumers have learned a lot of valuable lessons about mindful spending over the last few years, and shoppers will be keeping those lessons top of mind whether they’re buying for school-age kids or stocking up for a semester at college,” said Rachana Bhatt, marketing director, Chase Slate.

When asked what would be their biggest expense this year, clothing and apparel was the top category, selected by 43% of back-to-school shoppers. Roughly a quarter each said that either books or technology (such as computers, smartphones and tablets) would be their biggest expenses (24% versus 23%, respectively).

That being said, parents are putting their collective foot down this year when it comes to popular gadgets. Half said they will not be purchasing the smartphones or tablets their kids are asking for this season. Twenty-six percent are drawing the line at designer clothes or shoes.

The Chase survey also found that shoppers will use a variety of tactics to save money this season:

  • Thirty-nine percent purchase necessities such as books first and only buy discretionary items with remaining funds;
  • Thirty-four percent make a list and stick to it;
  • Twenty-six percent shop online to save time and money;
  • Seventeen percent begin shopping after school starts to take advantage of Columbus day and other post-season sales; and
  • Seven percent leave kids at home when doing back to school shopping.
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OPERATIONS

Two R.I. Shaw’s stores achieve zero-waste landmark

BY Allison Cerra

West Bridgewater, Mass. — Supervalu banner Shaw’s announced that two of its Rhode Island locations diverted more than 90% of store waste from local landfills as part of the company’s zero-waste program.

Shaw’s said its Barrington and Cranston stores achieved total waste diversion of 90.76% and 90.81%, respectively. In addition to the two new zero-waste stores in Rhode Island, the Shaw’s Lancaster, N.H., store also is one of the newest to join the zero-waste program, bringing the company total to eight.

Accomplished through an innovative approach to recycling, organic composting and food donations, the goal of the Shaw’s zero-waste program is to eliminate landfill waste from operations, the chain said. Each store now maximizes recycling, food donations, organic composting and overall waste reduction so less trash is placed in local landfills. Additionally, every Shaw’s location is diverting all of its organic materials, soft plastics, hard plastics and all of its paper and cardboard.

"We are committed to sustainable operations at Shaw’s and continually work to use resources more efficiently, reduce waste, and devise solutions that enable our customers to feel good about shopping with us," Shaw’s president Mike Stigers said.

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