FINANCE

Southern Bullion closure widens DGSE net loss

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas – Net loss at specialty jewelry retailer DSGE Inc. roughly tripled to $4.45 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2014 from $1.12 million in the same period a year earlier. Writeoffs related to the closure of DSGE’s Southern Bullion banner drove the net loss increase.

Declining gold prices helped produce a 26% reduction in revenues, which dropped to $17.5 million from $23.8 million. Strong jewelry sales partially offset the drop in gold value. DSGE also added two new independent directors, Bruce Quinnell and Dennis McGill, to its board. Both men are senior retail executives with decades of experience.

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FINANCE

Wal-Mart cuts profit forecast on sluggish Q2

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. stayed the course in the second quarter, delivering profit within Wall Street expectations, but cut its forecast for the full year as its U.S. business remains lackluster and costs associated with building new smaller-format stores, healthcare and e-commerce improvements continue to rise.

Consolidated net income in the second quarter edged up 0.6% to $4.1 billion from $4.07 billion in the year-ago period. Net sales rose 3% to $119.3 billion from $116.1 billion and U.S. same-store sales without fuel were flat. Traffic in U.S. stores was negative for the seventh consecutive quarter as the world’s largest retailer struggles to turn its domestic business around.

On the international front, Wal-Mart has showed continued strength; every country except China saw positive same-store sales.

CEO Doug McMillon pointed to the international strength, as well as e-commerce and Neighborhood Market sales in the U.S., as bright spots in the quarter. Same-store sales at Wal-Mart’s Neighborhood Market stores increased 5.6% over last year. Wal-Mart opened 22 Neighborhood Market stores in the second quarter and plans to add between 180-200 for the year. "We really like the position of our smaller stores,” CFO Charles Holley said in a media call.

Thursday’s results didn’t surprise Wall Street, which had low expectations leading up to the report. U.S. CEO Bill Simon’s recent departure left investors concerned that efforts to improve store merchandise and operations had not made a meaningful difference on sales and traffic.

Wal-Mart said it now expects earnings for the year of $4.90 to $5.15 a share, down from its previous range of $5.10 to $5.45 a share. U.S. comparable-store sales in the three months ending Oct. 31 should be relatively flat, the company said.

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OPERATIONS

Staples launches technology recycling service

BY Dan Berthiaume

Framingham, Mass. – Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, has launched a Technology Recycling Service. The program, offered in partnership with Electronic Recyclers International Inc. (ERI) allows businesses of all sizes to recycle large volumes of electronics in a secure manner.

Staples Advantage’s new program allows businesses to recycle equipment – from cell phones and keyboards to telecom equipment and multi-function devices – via three steps:

1. Order recycling boxes online.

2. Fill boxes with electronics and ship back to Staples using a provided return label.

3. Receive a Certificate of Recycling from Staples that their electronics have been properly recycled and data safely removed. The certificate is accredited by the e-Stewards Initiative, a project of the Basel Action Network, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the responsible recycling of e-waste.

Staples Advantage will also integrate this offering into its future Managed Print Services contracts. The cost for this service will range from $15 – $500 depending on the size of the box ordered. Customized solutions are also available.

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