OPERATIONS

Report: Wal-Mart illegally punished strikers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. — The National Labor Relations Board has reportedly determined that Wal-Mart acted illegally when it disciplined and fired employees who had been involved in strikes and other labor protest activities. According to the New York Times, the board investigated actions taken last year against about 100 Wal-Mart employees in stores across 12 states including California, Colorado, Texas and Massachusetts.

The board also reportedly determined it found evidence that a Wal-Mart spokesperson who said there would be consequences for employees who did not show up to work as scheduled on Black Friday last year had illegally intimidated workers.

The board authorized the filing of a complaint by Wal-Mart workers but first is giving time for the two sides to reach a settlement. A Wal-Mart spokesperson told the Times that the company did not break any laws in how it treated employees last year and does not engage in employee intimidation or retaliation.

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News

Net loss widens in third quarter for Sears Canada

BY CSA STAFF

Sears Canada said a one-time charge of $41 million related to restructuring and asset impairment affected its third quarter results, which resulted in a net loss of about $46.7 million USD — more than double the net loss of $21 million it posted in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year.

In addition, revenues of $940.7 million were down about 6% from $1 billion. In one bright spot, same-store sales climbed 1.2%. Sears Canada is in the middle of a three-year turnaround program launched in 2012.

"This is the first quarterly same store sales increase for the Company since 2008," said Doug Campbell, president and CEO, Sears Canada Inc. "October was our strongest month of the quarter, during which we adjusted our plans to market conditions and experienced double-digit same store sales increases in both our apparel & accessories and home & hardlines categories. Our direct business also grew substantially during the quarter. When we exclude the $42.8 million of non-recurring items taken in the quarter, we reduced expenses by 8.6% compared to last year. This demonstrates the progress we are making in executing on the value levers that most directly drive our business: merchandising value and efficiency value.”

Sears Canada also announced a special dividend of about $4.79 per share, or $488 million, payable to investors of record as of Dec. 2 on Dec. 6, as well as the appointment of H Ronald Weissman as a member of its board of directors and that E.J. Bird is stepping down as a director of the Sears Canada board and will focus on his current role as the company’s executive VP and CFO, a position he has held since March 2013.

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FINANCE

Restructuring affects Sears Canada Q3 results

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto — Sears Canada posted a net loss of about $46.7 million USD in the third quarter of fiscal 2013, more than double the net loss of $21 million it posted in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. One-time charges of $41 million related to restructuring and asset impairment helped widen the company’s net loss.

In addition, revenues of $940.7 million were down about 6% from $1 billion. In one bright spot, same-store sales climbed 1.2%. Sears Canada is in the middle of a three-year turnaround program launched in 2012.

"This is the first quarterly same store sales increase for the Company since 2008," said Doug Campbell, president and CEO, Sears Canada Inc. "October was our strongest month of the quarter, during which we adjusted our plans to market conditions and experienced double-digit same store sales increases in both our apparel & accessories and home & hardlines categories. Our direct business also grew substantially during the quarter. When we exclude the $42.8 million of non-recurring items taken in the quarter, we reduced expenses by 8.6% compared to last year. This demonstrates the progress we are making in executing on the value levers that most directly drive our business: merchandising value and efficiency value.”

Sears Canada also announced a special dividend of about $4.79 per share, or $488 million, payable to investors of record as of Dec. 2 on Dec. 6, as well as the appointment of H Ronald Weissman as a member of its board of directors and that E.J. Bird is stepping down as a director of the Sears Canada board and will focus on his current role as the company’s executive VP and CFO, a position he has held since March 2013.

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