FINANCE

Report: Retailers Continued to Struggle in Early November

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Retail sales contracted through Nov. 15, according to SpendingPulse, a report from Master Card Advisors.

“Several retail industry categories continued to struggle through the first half of November,” noted Michael McNamara, VP of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors. “Key holiday sectors posted year-over-year declines of over 19%.”

Electronics and appliance sales had some of the steepest drops of the sectors. For the first two weeks of November, sales posted a year-to-year decline of 22.1%.

Luxury showed a particularly sharp decline in sales, dropping 21.1% in the first two weeks of November against 2007, following a 20.1% year-to-year decline in October.

Overall specialty apparel was down 19% from last year, following drops of 5.5% in September and 12.2% in October.

Women’s apparel experienced a severe decline of 19.7% in the first half of November, compared with 2007.

A more complete picture of  retailers’ performance will emerge on Thursday, when many chains report same-store sales for November.

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Blockbuster to sell Live Nation tickets

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS and LOS ANGELES Blockbuster has signed a three-year agreement with Live Nation to become the exclusive physical retail ticket outlet for Live Nation Ticketing, Live Nation’s new in-house ticketing company, beginning with the start of the 2009 concert season.

Under the agreement, Live Nation will sell its retail tickets exclusively through approximately 500 Blockbuster company-owned stores in strategically chosen markets across the country that mirror Live Nation’s concert venue platform footprint.

The selected stores will offer exclusive blocks of tickets available only at Blockbuster during the first four hours of ticket sales, as well as general ticketing as long as supplies last. Blockbuster will be responsible for managing and operating all aspects of the ticket transactional experience.

“We are delighted to be teaming up with Live Nation, the world’s leader in live music entertainment. Not only will this agreement drive hundreds of thousands of customers to our stores, it represents another step in the transformation of Blockbuster into a brand that offers the most convenient access to entertainment,” said Jim Keyes, Blockbuster chairman and ceo. “We want customers to know that whatever their entertainment needs – from DVDs and games, to accessing tickets to some of the biggest concert events – they’ll find those needs answered at Blockbuster. Our mission is to be the customer’s one-stop entertainment destination.”

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Staples 3Q earnings down 42%

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Staples announced that total company sales for the third quarter increased 34% to $7 billion compared to the third quarter of 2007. Net income declined 43% year-over-year to $157 million, and earnings per share, on a diluted basis, decreased 42% to 22 cents, from the 38 cents achieved in the third quarter of last year.

North American Retail sales decreased 6% in the third quarter of 2008 to $2.6 billion, and comparable-store sales decreased 8% versus the third quarter of 2007. This reflects declines in average order size and customer traffic, as well as weakness in computers and accessories, business machines, and furniture, partially offset by strength in technology services and ink.

“Staples’ formula of focusing on customers and investing in our business continues to pay off with market share gains in these challenging times,” said Ron Sargent, Staples’ chairman and ceo. “We are pleased with our progress integrating Corporate Express, encouraged by our plans to drive store productivity in North American Retail, and enthusiastic about our top and bottom line opportunities in International.”

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