FINANCE

RadioShack says its balance sheet remains strong

BY Marianne Wilson

Fort Worth, Texas — RadioShack Corp. on Friday released a statement in which it said that its balance sheet continues to be strong, with total liquidity of $820 million at the end of the first quarter. The chain released the statement the day after a report said the retailer was considering hiring a financial adviser.

“Like many companies, we have discussions with investment banks from time to time to help us evaluate ways to further strengthen our balance sheet and manage it efficiently,” RadioShack stated. “That has been the sole focus of these discussions. As we noted on our last earnings call, we are focused on executing our turnaround and serving our customers.”

In April, the retailer reported a wider first-quarter loss, its fifth consecutive quarterly loss, on weaker sales. New CEO Joseph Magnacca is working to turnaround the ailing company and update its image, that includes a new, more tech-oriented store concept.

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News

IBM study: Big Data boosts retailer, CPG performance

BY Dan Berthiaume

Armonk, N.Y. — Retailers and CPG companies with leading stock prices are more likely than their lagging competitors to use Big Data analytics to understand and adjust to customer needs. According to a study of 325 senior retail merchandising executives conducted by IBM Center for Applied Insights in conjunction with Planet Retail, 65% of leading retail merchandisers feel Big Data analytics is critical to their business compared to just 38% of other retail companies.

In addition, 63% of top retail merchandisers have the data they need to conduct meaningful analytics while 33% of other retailers do not and 83% of leading retail merchandisers are focusing more on the consumer compared to 47% of lower-performing retailers.

Similarly, according to the new IBM/Kantar Retail Global CPG Study of more than 350 top CPG executives, 74% of leading CPGs use data analytics to improve decision making in sales compared to just 37% of lower-performing CPGs. And 37% of leading CPG companies make decisions predominately on data and sophisticated analytics compared to 9% of lower-performing CPG companies.

“These studies show that no matter where you sit in the retail ecosystem, big data can have tremendous impact on your success,” said Jay Henderson, strategy program director, IBM Smarter Commerce. “Leading retailers and consumer packaged goods suppliers are increasingly looking to the consumer to inform better business strategies. By using data analytics, these top performers are more in tune with retail trends that turn market opportunity into market leadership.”

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OPERATIONS

Michaels Kors files suit against Costco

BY Staff Writer

New York — Michael Kors is suing Costco Corp., accusing the chain of illegally using pictures of its pocketbooks in its ads to attract customers, according to the Associated Press. Michael Kors said Costco was not authorized to sell the designer’s goods.

In a federal lawsuit, Michael Kors accused Costco of using the bags as a lure. It claimed Costco advertised the bags as starting at $99, but didn’t actually have any to sell, the report said.

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