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Report: Best Buy considering tablets for sales assistants

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Best Buy is studying a variety of devices for its in-store employees to use, including the Galaxy Tab from Samsung, the original iPad and Motorola Mobility’s Xoom, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“While we plan in the future to supply each store a limited number of handheld devices to use as sales tools when assisting the consumer, we have not many any final decision at this time,” a Best Buy representative said, according to the report.

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Smucker makes changes to executive team

BY CSA STAFF

ORRVILLE, Ohio — The J. M. Smucker Company announced several executive appointments.Effective Aug. 16, Richard K. Smucker will become the sole CEO of the company. Timothy P. Smucker will continue to serve the company as chairman of the board.

The board of directors also approved the following additional executive appointments and realignment of responsibilities effective May 1:

Vincent Byrd will assume the role of president and COO with responsibility for the company’s U.S. retail businesses. Byrd has 34 years experience with the company serving in a number of key positions throughout the organization. He currently serves as president U.S. retail coffee.

Mark T. Smucker will assume the role of president, U.S. retail coffee. Mr. Smucker most recently held the position of president special markets and has served in leadership roles within the company for 14 years.

Paul Smucker Wagstaff will assume the role of president U.S. retail consumer foods in a newly consolidated business area combining the current consumer Smucker’s, Jif and Hungry Jack business with the oils and baking business. Wagstaff has 15 years of leadership experience within the company.

Smucker and Wagstaff will report to Byrd.

Steven Oakland currently president Smucker’s, Jif and Hungry Jack will assume the role of president international, foodservice and natural foods. Oakland has been with Smucker for 28 years and has experience in the U.S. retail, international and foodservice business areas.

Barry C. Dunaway, SVP corporate and organization development, with 24 years experience with the company, will assume the role of SVP and chief administrative officer (CAO). In this new role, Dunaway will oversee the company’s human resources, legal, corporate development and information services departments.

Mark R. Belgya will continue serving the company as SVP and CFO with responsibility for accounting, investor relations, financial planning, tax and treasury and will assume additional responsibility for internal audit. Belgya has been with Smucker for 26 years.

"Continuity of leadership has been a primary factor behind our company’s success and remains a key element of the succession planning that ensures the development of future Company leaders," said Tim Smucker, chairman of the board and co-CEO. "The changes announced today reinforce our commitment to maintain our Company’s heritage and unique culture, while continuing to support the long-term interests of our constituents – consumers, customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders."

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Dick’s maintains momentum with same-store sales streak

BY CSA STAFF

PITTSBURGH — Dick’s Sporting Goods on Tuesday showed why it is the nation’s leading sporting goods retailer by producing record profits and a 9.4% same-store sales increase that extended to six its string of consecutive quarterly comp gains.

The hefty comp increase and the addition of 10 new stores during the quarter ended Jan. 29 enabled the company to grow sales by 13.6% to slightly more than $1.5 billion, and while net income grew at nearly 30% to a record $87.5 million. Earnings per share were dinged by a five-cent-a-share charge related to a litigation settlement, but still managed to grow by 27% to 71 cents a share from 56 cents the prior year. Another major contributor was an e-commerce business that grew by 36%.

Chairman and CEO Ed Stack said the company was able to produce the strong results while maintaining a focus on strengthening its balance sheet, which at the end of the year showed $546 million in cash and no borrowings under its credit facility.

“We have successfully navigated the storms of the recession and have executed our business plan by posting six consecutive quarters of same-stores sales gains, opening 26 new stores in 2010, expanding our margins rates and reducing inventory per square foot,” Stack said. “As a result, we are solidly positioned to generate further growth and increased operating margins in the coming years.”

As in prior reporting periods, sales growth is expected to come from increased productivity of existing units blended with an accelerated new store expansion program. In the first quarter, same-store sales are forecast in the range of 4% to 5% with three store openings planned. For the full year, the company is eyeing same-store sales growth of 3% with a total of 34 store openings planned in the Dick’s Sporting Goods format and three additional Golf Galaxy stores.

At the end of last year, there were 444 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in 42 states and 81 Golf Galaxy stores in 30 states. From the sporting goods industry’s largest base of stores, Dick’s was able to produce total annual sales of $4.9 billion, a 10.4% increase from the prior year and a 7.4% same store sales increases. Full year profits increased 34.5% to $182 million.

The sales growth at Dick’s suggests the company continues to gain share in the fragmented sporting goods channel and comes amid uneven reports from other industry players. For example, the outdoor oriented Cabela’s chain reported a 7.3% increase in fourth quarter same-store sales, while operators of smaller format stores reported weak results. Hibbett Sporting Goods whose stores are predominantly located in the South said its fourth-quarter comps advanced a meager 1.3%, while Big 5 registered a 0.7% decline at its stores located in Western states.

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