REAL ESTATE

RetailMeNot to provide digital coupons at General Growth Property malls

BY Dan Berthiaume

Austin, Texas – RetailMeNot, Inc. has reached a strategic partnership agreement with General Growth Properties Inc. (GGP), a real estate investment trust focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing and developing retail properties throughout the U.S. RetailMeNot will be the preferred digital coupon provider across GGP malls.

In addition to traditional marketing, the strategic partnership enables RetailMeNot to test new, in-mall marketing formats. RetailMeNot will also begin testing beacon technology that can provide its mobile app users with more dynamic, hyper-targeted offers.

"In 2013, RetailMeNot simultaneously supported consumers’ savings needs and retailers’ brick-and-mortar sales objectives through in-mall marketing during the holiday shopping season in numerous markets across the U.S.,” said Jim Ballis, senior V.P. marketing RetailMeNot. “We know in-mall marketing helped RetailMeNot continue to build its brand awareness and introduce a larger segment of U.S. shoppers to RetailMeNot’s free coupon app for iPhone and Android users. Our strategic partnership with GGP will raise RetailMeNot’s profile year-round in premier shopping malls where deal seeking consumers are looking for ways to shop smart and save. We believe this partnership will also drive significant value for GGP’s tenant retailers who utilize RetailMeNot to increase foot traffic and in-store sales."

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FINANCE

McDonald’s net income dips in Q1

BY Dan Berthiaume

Oak Brook, Ill. – McDonald’s Corp. reported net income of $1.2 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, a 5.5% decline from $1.27 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. Total revenues grew 1% to $6.7 billion, from $6.2 billion.

Global same-store sales grew 0.5%, including a 1.7% decline in the U.S. and 1.4% increase in Europe. McDonald’s attributed negative same-store sales in the U.S. to challenging industry dynamics and severe winter weather. Looking ahead, the retailer said the U.S. remains focused on improving the restaurant experience through a continued commitment to operations and service excellence, customer engagement and menu choice to drive sales and profitability.

The retailer expects moderate global same-store sales growth for April 2014. Looking forward, McDonald’s is focused on stabilizing key priority markets including the U.S., Germany, Australia, and Japan.

"At McDonald’s, we aspire to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink, and our actions are grounded in creating the best overall experience for our customers," said McDonald’s president and CEO Don Thompson. "In the near term, we are prioritizing our efforts around those elements of the restaurant experience that are most impactful, offering the best food and beverage options and delivering outstanding service. For the long term, we are focused on more effectively leveraging consumer insights to guide our global growth priorities of optimizing our menu, modernizing the customer experience and broadening accessibility to brand McDonald’s. We are intent on pursuing initiatives that will strengthen our relationship with our customers to reignite our business momentum."

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FINANCE

Rent-A-Center will consolidate 150 stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas – Rent-A-Center Inc. reported declining net earnings for first quarter 2014, even as revenues slightly grew. The company said it plans to optimize its U.S. store footprint by consolidating about 150 stores into existing stores by the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2014.

Net earnings fell 37% to $28.9 million from $46.1 million, while total revenues increased 1.8% to $833.7 million from $819.3 million. Same-store sales dropped 0.8%.

Rent-A-Center attributed its declining net earnings performance to a pre-tax charge and a write-off of unamortized financing costs from a previous credit agreement.

"We are generally pleased with our results in the quarter as we reported total revenues of $834 million, an increase of $15 million year-over-year, and our adjusted net earnings per diluted share of $0.57 exceeded expectations," said Robert D. Davis, CEO of Rent-A-Center Inc. "We remain aware of continued challenges in the macro-economic environment but our focus remains on the execution of the strategy communicated in our February investor day to build shareholder value.”

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