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Report: Amazon plans in-store Kindle checkout

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Amazon.com reportedly plans to provide Kindle-based checkout for brick-and-mortar retailers, possibly as soon as summer 2014. According to the Wall Street Journal, sources who have been briefed said Amazon is considering offering retailers free Kindle hardware, as well as providing data analysis and site development services.

Amazon.com did purchase technology and hire some engineers from GoPago, a San Francisco-based startup that developed a smartphone-based checkout system for in-store retailers, in 2013. Sources indicated this project is not definite and may be canceled.

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Best Buy Canada cuts 950 jobs

BY Dan Berthiaume

Vancouver, Canada — As part of a restructuring Best Buy Canada will be consolidating sales departments and reducing management layers in Future Shop and Best Buy stores, resulting in the layoff of about 950 full-time employees across both Future Shop and Best Buy brands. All store employees were notified individually about these changes and those impacted were provided with severance packages.

“We have been focusing on simplifying our store structure and increasing efficiencies to better align with the changing needs of our customers,” said Ron Wilson, president and COO of Best Buy Canada. “We have seen our online sales grow by more than 50% in the past year and new services such as in-store reserve and pick up more than doubling. These changes in the way our customers are interacting with us have led us to look at how to best deploy our staff to meet those evolving needs.”

Best Buy Canada is the second major Canadian retailer to announce significant job cuts on Thursday, Jan. 30. Sears Canada also announced it would eliminate 624 store and mid-management positions.

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L Brands names bank exec to board

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio – L Brands has named Stephen D. Steinour to its board of directors. Steinour is chairman, president and CEO of Huntington Bancshares Inc., a $59 billion regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

"I am excited to welcome Steve to our board," said Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and CEO of L Brands. "I’m confident that his considerable expertise in business, finance and customer service will provide valuable insight and guidance to our company. We’re extremely fortunate that he has joined our team."

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