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Staples Q2 profit tumbles 32% on weak North American sales

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Framingham, Mass. — Staples reported Wednesday that profit for the quarter ended July 28 plummeted 32% to $120.4 million from $176.4 million, prompting the office supply retailer to cut its full-year guidance.

Soft sales and slowed traffic in North America sent total revenue downward 6% to $5.5 billion; North American retail sales slipped 3%. Same-store sales declined 2%. Sales abroad fell 18%.

“We’re taking a hard look at each of our businesses, and we plan to make significant changes to improve results,” said Ron Sargent, chairman and CEO. “We’re also building a plan to reallocate resources, take advantage of our best growth opportunities, and drive increased cost savings.”

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Survey: Nearly half of consumers feel BTS promotions are improved

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Los Angeles — A PriceGrabber back-to-school survey released on Wednesday found that 48% of consumers believe retailers are offering better back-to-school shopping promotions this year.

According to the survey, 88% of consumers chose ‘sales’ as the top retailer promotion that will entice them to make a back-to-school purchase this year. Forty-nine percent of shoppers cited coupons; 44% noted that "free items with purchase" would persuade them to buy; and 34% selected sales available online only.

When survey respondents were asked to select all back-to-school products that are offering great deals, school supplies topped the list with 67% of the consumer vote. Clothing came in second place with 58%; 32% cited electronics including computers, tablets and smartphones; 30% selected backpacks or tote bags; and 15% said books.

"The start of the back-to-school shopping season has been very competitive with retailers offering aggressive promotions to win the consumer dollar," said Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "We anticipate retailers will continue to offer very strong promotions and incentives through the remainder of August and even into September as kids start the school year."

When PriceGrabber survey respondents were asked if they think back-to-school deals are better online or in stores this year, 34% said online. Twenty-two percent of consumers said deals were better in stores and 44% of shoppers said deals were the same whether online or in stores. When asked how they plan to purchase back-to-school items this year, 60% of consumers said in stores and 40% selected online.

When respondents were asked to select all of the types of stores they plan to shop at for back-to-school items, 67% selected large, multichannel department stores. Online retailers were voted second and discounters third. Nearly half (47%) plan to shop in office supply chain stores this back-to-school season.

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Scott Naturals names winner of four-week test drive promotion

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS — Scott Naturals has announced the winner of its nationwide promotion, which asked consumers to to pledge to try the Scott Naturals line of hybrid paper products for four weeks.

The brand declared the state of Alaska as the winner and will donate $50,000 to be used toward local forest and land conservation efforts to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, through the National Association of State Conservation Agencies.

Scott Naturals also will be making a donation to New York due to the state’s "overwhelming participation."

This marks the second year of the Scott Naturals four-week test drive and the first year that the brand has made a donation toward conservation efforts.
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