FINANCE

Starbucks Steps Back From Music Business

BY CSA STAFF

Seattle Starbucks Corp. on Thursday took a major step back from its music and book business by handing over day-to-day management of its year-old music label to Concord Music Group, as it strives to contain costs and rejuvenate its coffee-shop business.

The restructuring of Starbucks Entertainment, the small but profitable unit that oversees the chain’s music and book sales, comes a little more than a year after the company unveiled its Hear Music label with various popular artists.

Ken Lombard, who oversaw Starbucks’ music unit for much of its existence, is also leaving the company.

On Wednesday, the company blamed hard-hit housing markets in California and Florida for slowing sales and warned that its quarterly and 2008 profits would be below expectations.

“We are committed to examining all aspects of our business that are not directly related to our core,” CEO Howard Schultz said in a statement.

Chris Bruzzo, Starbucks’ chief technology officer, will assume responsibility for the entertainment division, the company said.

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Sharper Image agrees to sell company

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO Sharper Image reported that it has decided to pursue a sale of its business and assets pursuant to the provisions of the bankruptcy code and will solicit indications of interest from potential acquirers.

The company notified interested parties that any sale will be subject to approval of the bankruptcy court having jurisdiction of the companys chapter 11 case. 

The company said it intends to complete the sale process and seek approval of the sale by the bankruptcy court by the end of May 2008.

Robert Conway, ceo, said that given the present retail climate and specialty nature of the company, as well as the limited financing available to the company, a sale of its business and assets at this time will preserve values and yield the best recovery to the company.

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Supervalu offers incentives for rebate use

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Supervalu is encouraging customers to spend their stimulus or tax refund checks in its stores by offering gift cards in $300 increments with an extra $30 added to each card. The offer is available May 2 through July 31, at all Supervalu stores.

We recognize that in todays economy, consumers budgets are strained, said Jeff Noddle, Supervalu chairman and ceo. At the same time, however, they still want to feed their families fresh and healthy meals, affordably. Were always looking for ways to help our shoppers stretch their food dollars even further, and this is a program that we hope can help them achieve that. 

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