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Smack Sportswear names new CFO

BY CSA STAFF

TORRANCE, Calif. — Smack Sportswear, a maker of custom-designed volleyball and beach active apparel, has lured the former True Religion Apparel executive Charles A. Lesser out of retirement and into its CFO spot.

Smack manufactures its Southern California-inspired apparel in its headquarters, five miles away from the home of beach volleyball.

“After reviewing a number of candidates, and carefully examining their records, it was True Religion Apparel’s success while Charles Lesser was CFO that caught my attention. He was CFO when the company first traded on the OTC-BB with roughly the same revenues we have presently. During his tenure as CFO at True Religion, their sales skyrocketed to $160 million in 2007 (when he left the company). I believe that the Smack Sportswear brand has more world-wide appeal today than True Religion had in 2003, and that we can achieve similar success with Charles as our CFO.”

Prior to True Religion, Lesser was an officer at various private and public companies, including Weider Sporting Goods. During his three-year tenure as Weider’s CFO, the company’s revenues grew 300% and experienced 5x profit growth.

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Walmart’s Facebook promotion brings cheer to nonprofits

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — As part of its 12 Days of Giving Facebook campaign, Walmart will distribute more than $1.5 million to 140 grant recipients in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., throughout the next 12 days.

The winning nonprofits were selected from more than 21,677 nominations submitted in November by Facebook users who felt compelled to enter and describe the community impact made by their favorite nonprofit organizations.

"The number of nominations from around the country this year was truly extraordinary: nearly four times as many nominations as last year’s campaign," said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation.

Submissions were initially reviewed by Walmart associates from across the company and then a panel from the Walmart Foundation, Walmart’s philanthropic group, selected the winning organizations that focus on providing basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing, as well as services such as medical care and job training to those in need. The winners have been organized into categories to be announced on each of the 12 days and will be spotlighted on the Live Better tab on Walmart’s Facebook page daily through December 21.

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Toys “R” Us optimistic about holidays

BY CSA STAFF

A 4.1% third quarter same store sales decline and $105 million loss hasn’t diminished holiday spirits at Toys "R" Us.

The company reported the sales decline for the period ended October 27 late Friday and attributed a portion of the dip in same store sales to a less promotional stance and an earlier start to its layaway program. The layaway program was launched on September, seven weeks before the end of the third quarter, but sales related to items placed in layaway can not be recognized until customers pick up their orders.

Total sales declined 3.4% to $2.6 billion and the company reported a net loss of $105 million versus $93 million the prior year.

"Our primary focus during the third quarter was making strategic preparations for the important holiday season," said Jerry Storch, Toys "R" Us chairman and CEO. "We believe the new programs we’ve introduced such as Free Layaway, Price Match Guarantee, Hot Toy Reservation and our strengthened omnichannel offerings, including Ship from Store, have benefitted our customers and provided even more reasons to shop with us."

Storch said the company was confident that its inventory levels of must-have toys would provide a strong in-stock position in the weeks leading up to Christmas and position the company as the toy destination for families.

Toys "R" Us ended the quarter with 875 Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, and nearly 800 stores and licensed stores in 35 international markets. The company also owns the FAO Schwarz brand and operates flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

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