STORE SPACES

Smith’s honored for energy efficiency

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Smith’s Food & Drug Stores, a division of Kroger Co., has been recognized by the Utah Association of Energy Users as a leader in conservation and energy-use efficiency, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The chain, which received the “Outstanding Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Conservation” award on Wednesday at the 26th Annual Western States Energy Conference in Salt Lake City, was recognized for retrofitting its 132 stores in seven states with more efficient energy systems.

A recent energy-savings change converted frozen food cases from fluorescent lighting to LED lighting. Smith’s anticipates saving as much electricity as it takes to power 1,838 single-family homes in Utah for one year through that measure alone, it said in a statement.

The association is comprised of business executives who are interested in energy efficiency, policy and technical issues, as well as regulatory staff from western states, legislators and utility representatives. Members spend over $400 million annually on energy, and provide 40,000 technical jobs to Utahns.

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FINANCE

Nordstrom Q1 income surges 25%; rolling out mobile checkout devices

BY CSA STAFF

Seattle — Nordstrom reported Thursday that its first-quarter net income rose 25% on improved revenue. But the company lowered its full-year outlook to reflect the impact of its acquisition of private-sale website HauteLook.

Nordstrom said it earned $145 million for the quarter that ended April 30, up from $116 million in the same quarter last year. (The figure includes a charge related to the HauteLook acquisition.) Revenue increased 12% to $2.23 billion. Same-store sales were up 6.5%.

The company reported stronger sales at its traditional retail stores, online and at its discount Nordstrom Rack stores.

As reported earlier, Nordstrom is rolling out 5,000 to 6,000 handheld mobile-checkout devices to its sales associates by this July. The devices allow sales associates to search entire inventory in real time for shoppers. Sales staff also will be able to scan an item, and customers can pay using their credit card.

"We’re excited about our prospects in mobile and e-commerce," said Blake Nordstrom, the company’s president, in an address to analysts during a conference call following the earnings release. "Online has been the fastest growing part of our business, and there is significant potential to drive more sales and improve service in this area."

The company announced Thursday that it will repurchase up to $750 million of its outstanding shares through 2013. This is in addition to its existing repurchase program, under which it has $235 million remaining for buybacks.

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FINANCE

Wal-Mart buying minority stake in Chinese online retailer

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores is buying a minority stake in online company Yihaodian, which sells groceries, consumer electronics, clothing and other items. Terms of the deal and the size of the stake were not disclosed.

The deal will help expand the Wal-Mart’s reach into China, where it has 328 stores (as of Dec. 31, 2010).

"Online sales in China are growing rapidly and are projected to match U.S. online sales in the next few years. By investing in Yihaodian, we’re continuing to establish a presence in this important e-commerce market, and are moving forward on fulfilling our aspiration of being the leading global multichannel retailer," Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce and Global Sourcing, said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close within 60 days.

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