FINANCE

Safeway raises stock repurchase program

BY Staff Writer

Pleasanton, Calif. — Safeway said its board of directors increased its stock buyback authorization by $1.0 billion, to $8.0 billion.

The supermarket operator said it had repurchased $6.1 billion of its stock through the end of the third quarter and had about $0.9 billion remaining under the buyback program at that time.

The repurchase authorization does not have an expiration date, Safeway said in a statement.

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FINANCE

comScore: Cyber Monday spending hits $1.25 billion

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — comScore reported that Cyber Monday sales totaled $1.25 billion, up 22% from last year, making it the heaviest online spending day in history. Overall, 10 million people bought online on Cyber Monday, representing the first time on record that threshold has been reached in a single day. The average online buyer conducted 1.9 online transactions on Cyber Monday for a total of nearly $125 in spending.

For the for the first 28 days of the November – December holiday season, total online retail spending reached $15 billion, a 15% increase versus the corresponding days last year, according to comScore.

"Looking forward to the balance of the season, it will be very important to continue to monitor the trend in consumer spending to determine the degree to which retailers’ heavy promotional activity at the beginning of the shopping season, and consumers’ encouraging response, has pulled forward consumers’ future buying,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “When all is said and done, it will also be vital to see whether retailers’ deals and price discounting, which consumers are now able to discover via so many different digital media channels, will have a negative impact on retailers’ margins this holiday season."

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American Eagle Outfitters Q3 profit up 59%

BY Marianne Wilson

Pittsburgh — American Eagle Outfitters Inc. reported that its third-quarter net income increased 59%, helped by a year-ago charge. The chain posted fourth-quarter guidance that was above Wall Street expectations.

For the August-October quarter, the company said net income was $52.4 million, compared with $33 million in the same period last year. Analysts expected 26 cents per share.

Revenue rose 11% to $831.8 million, from $751.5 million last year. Analysts expected $820.3 million. Same-store sales rose 5%, as did online revenue.

“I am encouraged by our progress in the third quarter and the continued momentum into the holiday season,” said Jim O’Connell, CEO.

Merchandise margins fell due to higher costs for cotton and markdowns, and expenses rose as the company opened new stores and ramped up advertising.

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