FINANCE

Safeway profits soar in Q1; 10 Lifestyle stores on tap in 2012

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Pleasanton, Calif. — Safeway Inc. reported Thursday that net income for the first quarter rose to $81.6 million, from $25.1 million in the year-earlier period.

Sales edged up 2.4% to $10 billion, from $9.8 billion last year. Same-store sales were flat.

“We continue to believe sales will grow as our new marketing initiatives take hold," said Steve Burd, chairman and CEO.

In 2012, Safeway said it expects to invest approximately $900 million in capital expenditures, open 10 new Lifestyle stores and complete 10 Lifestyle remodels.

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FINANCE

Wal-Mart first-ever retailer to launch online ‘pay with cash’ option

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart said Thursday it has launched a “Pay with Cash” service that offers cash payment options for online orders at Walmart.com in the United States.

Walmart is the first major retailer to offer online purchases without the need for banking services or a credit, debit or prepaid card.

The retailer said that the majority of its in-store transactions are paid in cash or cash equivalent, including debit cards, with just 15% of transactions paid in credit. The “Pay with Cash” program will allow the same payment options online, which is expected to appeal to the retailer’s customer base.

To use the option, a shopper places an order on walmart.com and, during checkout, selects the "Cash" option and a shipping preference. The customer immediately receives an order number on the order confirmation page and an email receipt with the order number. The item is reserved in the system.

The customer has 48 hours to take the printed order form to any cash register of any Walmart store or Neighborhood Market.

Once cash payment is completed in the store and received, shipping then occurs via Site to Store or to a preferred address.

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OPERATIONS

Report: Mexico’s federal watchdog to investigate Wal-Mart Mexico permits

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Mexico City — A Wall Street Journal report on Thursday said that the Mexico’s Ministry of Public Functions – the country’s public-sector watchdog – will investigate new-store permits secured by Wal-Mart’s Mexico division, Wal-Mart de Mexico.

The agency is looking for misconduct on the part of federal government employees in granting construction and other permits, according to WSJ.

Parent company Wal-Mart Stores is conducting its own investigation into allegations that Walmex paid bribes to public officials in Mexico to speed new-store openings.

Should the Ministry of Public Functions find that irregular conduct occurred, the federal government will take action, said the report. If the ministry finds evidence that public employees at the local level accepted bribes or otherwise engaged in illicit activity, then it will turn that evidence over to the corresponding local authorities, the ministry said.

The ministry also said it plans to request information from U.S. authorities so as to better investigate the allegations.


Read more about the alleged Wal-Mart bribery scandal.

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