C-SUITE

Speaking of Customers

BY CSA STAFF

“The world has changed a lot since my parents first shopped at Walmart; so have people and how they live. Our Next Generation Customer will include millions who are striving to join the emerging global middle class. They’re from the countryside around Punjab, India and the blue-collar suburbs of Sao Paulo, Brazil. They’re in the big cities — from the wards of Chicago to the boroughs of New York City. They’re connected to the world through smartphones and social media. They’re in charge of when they shop and how they shop.”

— Mike Duke, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, speaking at the company’s 2011 Annual Shareholders Meeting.

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OPERATIONS

Jobs report delivers blow to retail stocks

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — A jobs report on Friday that showed a slowing hiring market sent retail shares tumbling. According to the Labor Department, U.S. employers added just 54,000 new workers in May, the fewest in eight months. With unemployment at 9.1%, those retailers most closely tied to the job market, including Staples and Office Depot, saw the most negative impact.

The jobs added in May were far lower than the previous three months’ average of 220,000 new jobs per month. Private companies hired only 83,000 new workers in May — the fewest in nearly a year.

Many analysts suggest the economy will improve later this year, particularly if gas prices continue to decline. But Friday’s report underscores that the recovery will likely remain weak and unemployment – currently at 9.1% — will be a problem for the foreseeable future.

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FINANCE

Prada to use IPO proceeds to expand, renovate stores

BY CSA STAFF

Hong Kong — Italian fashion house Prada, which is preparing for an initial public offering of about $2 billion in Hong Kong, said it plans to use most of the proceeds on expansion and renovation of its stores over the next 18 months.

The Milan-based company said it plans to add a net total of about 80 directly operated stores by the end of January 2012, most of them in the Asia Pacific region, where it sees "substantial potential for growth," Prada said in the a regulatory filing.

The fashion house has about a third of its 326 directly operated stores in Asia-Pacific, its fastest-growing market.

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