Report: Costco’s donations to Washington state initiative break records
Issaquah, Wash. — Costco Wholesale’s donations to a Washington state voter initiative that would legalize liquor sales by private retailers have broken state records, according to published reports.
The Seattle Times reported that the $22 million the mass-merchandise chain spent on Initiative 1183 was the most any single donor had ever spent on an initiative. In addition, Safeway and Trader Joe’s each spent $50,000, while the Northwest Grocery Association spent $30,373, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, alcohol wholesalers, the Beer Institute and the UFCW Local 21 have donated to defeat the measure.
Washington is among the handful of states in which liquor may only be sold in state-owned liquor stores, due to laws that date back to the period following Prohibition, when alcohol sales were legalized but became subject to strict regulations.
Zale expands customer financing options with NewComLink
Austin, Texas — Retail credit solution-provider NewComLink said Tuesday that Zale Corp. has implemented the NewComLink platform as part of its new program to provide alternative financing options to its U.S. customers.
Zale announced the new alternative financing program on Aug. 31, which is currently available in all Zales, Zales Outlet and Gordon’s retail stores.
“We are continually looking for new ways to build additional long-term loyalty and sales,” said Ken Brumfield, VP of financial products for Zale Corp. “The NewComLink platform allows us to leverage our current systems and processes to expand the financing options we offer our customers.”
RadioShack announces new capital allocation strategy
Fort Worth, Texas — RadioShack Corp. announced Tuesday a 100% increase in its dividend and the authorization of a $200 million share repurchase program as part of a new capital allocation strategy.
The strategy, according to the company, is designed to balance business growth opportunities with continued strong cash flow and provide a more consistent return of excess cash to long-term shareholders.
The board increased the annual dividend on the company’s common stock to $.50 per share in 2011, compared with $.25 per share paid in 2010, and has changed the annual dividend payout to a quarterly payout. The annual cash dividend of $.50 per share for 2011 is payable on Dec. 15, 2011, to stockholders of record at the close of business on Nov. 25, 2011, after which the dividend will be paid on a quarterly basis beginning in the first quarter of 2012.
The board also approved an authorization for a share repurchase of $200 million of the company’s common stock to be executed from time to time through open market or private transactions. The company said it currently expects to repurchase $200 million of the common stock during the next 12 months.
"Our balance sheet is strong and our business generates consistent positive cash flow," said Jim Gooch, president and CEO of RadioShack Corp. "At the same time, our evolving growth profile is well supported by current cash flow. Our new capital strategy reflects our desire to return excess cash more consistently to shareholders during a challenging economic environment."