FINANCE

Report: Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba plans U.S. IPO

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hong Kong – Chinese e-commerce platform provider Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is reportedly planning a U.S. initial public offering (IPO). According to Bloomberg, Alibaba has received approval from Hong Kong regulators for its proposed governance structure.

Unnamed sources indicate Alibaba will work with Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. on developing and launching the IPO. Alibaba’s market capitalization may reach $200 billion, which would make it the second-most-valuable Internet company after Google and more valuable than Facebook.

Alibaba reportedly has not yet decided details of the IPO, such as initial share price, how many shares it will sell, what exchange it will be listed on or when the IPO will take place. The company has proposed that its partners nominate a majority of the board of directors, which could not take place in a Hong Kong filing. Alibaba may file an IPO on China in the future.

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FINANCE

Hibbett Sports net income drops in Q4, sales climb

BY Dan Berthiaume

Birmingham, Ala. – Net income and sales declined at Hibbett Sports Inc. during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013. Net income dropped 13% from $19.6 million in the fourth quarter of the prior fiscal year to $16.4 million, while net sales inched upward 0.2% to $217.8 million from $217.4 million.

Same-store sales rose 1.7% during the quarter. Hibbett Sports cited slowing sales in January due to inclement weather and a less favorable sales impact from the national college football championship game as impacting net income.

“Sales trends improved significantly in February as weather patterns normalized, and we transitioned to our spring assortment,” said Jeff Rosenthal, president and CEO of Hibbett Sports. “Looking ahead, we feel confident in our product offering, inventory levels and execution as we progress through this important season. We also continue to be encouraged by new store unit growth and sales, and look forward to delivering value on our key initiatives in fiscal 2015."

Fiscal results followed a similar pattern during the full fiscal year 2014 with net income dropping 2% to $70.9 million from $72.6 million, and net sales increasing 4.1% to $852 million from $815.7 million. Same-store sales rose 1.8%.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Foodland implements mobile shopping app

BY Dan Berthiaume

Honolulu — Foodland Super Market Ltd recently launched a new mobile app for both iPhone and Android. The app, built in partnership with mobile commerce provider DoubleBeam, debuted on Jan. 29 and has more than 19,000 downloads in the first three weeks.

The Foodland app was designed to make the grocery shopping experience more convenient and save customers time and money. Foodland customers can load their Maika`i loyalty cards to their mobile devices, view their Maika`i point balances and track their progress toward earning My

Rewards certificates for free product, grocery discount, or HawaiianMiles.

In addition, customers can create personal shopping lists by adding items directly from Foodland’s weekly ads, scanning product barcodes, or just by typing it in. Using the store locator feature, customers can find the nearest Foodland location and identify which stores are open based on the current time.

"Foodland has had a long tradition of finding innovative ways to deliver great value and service to our customers,” said Cheyne Manalo, Foodland’s director of web & online programs.

“Acknowledging that our customers are quickly adopting technology into their daily lives presented us with a great opportunity to further engage with them and build upon providing excellent customer service. “In working with DoubleBeam we were able to quickly bring to market a unique mobile app that reflects who we are as a company and enhances our customers’ shopping experiences."

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