REAL ESTATE

Sunflowers Farmer Market to enter California

BY CSA STAFF

Boulder, Col. — Sunflowers Farmer Market plans to open its first location in California on May 11, in Roseville, which is in the northern half of the state.

Sunflower operates 33 stores in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Texas.

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FINANCE

Conn’s loses $3.4 million in Q4, partly due to store closings

BY CSA STAFF

Beaumont, Texas — Conn’s said Thursday that it lost $3.4 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, reflecting charges tied to planned store closings and other items.

Conn’s, which sells consumer electronics, home appliances, furniture, mattresses and lawn and garden products, operates 76 stores in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. It plans to close five underperforming stores and let the leases expire for two additional locations.

The retailer reported a net loss of $3.4 million for the three months ended Jan. 31, compared with net income of $1.7 million in the prior-year period.

Excluding a $2.3 million charge related to planned store closings and other items, adjusted earnings were breakeven.

Revenue rose 3% to $213.4 million, from $207.3 million. Same-store sales were up 5.2%. .

In February, Conn’s president and CEO Timothy Frank stepped down to pursue other opportunities. Theodore M. Wright was named as the interim CEO and president while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

For the year, Conn’s lost $1 million, compared with net income of $3.5 million a year ago.

Annual revenue fell 10% to $790.5 million, from $874 million.

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News

Making sense of Simon’s inflation comment

BY CSA STAFF

When Walmart executives speak about prices, inflation or the nation’s economic condition their comments create quite a stir, and that’s what we saw again this week when Bill Simon spoke to USA Today.

As president and CEO of Walmart’s U.S. stores division Simon has a unique perspective on consumer spending and the rising input prices that are impacting the company’s suppliers. Therefore, when he talked to the USA Today editorial board about how the months ahead will bring serious inflation in food and clothing, people pay more attention than they do to the other retailers and economists who have made similar comments in recent months.

Simon talked about leveraging the company’s scale and working closely with suppliers to manage costs, both familiar themes at Walmart, reading between the lines it is apparent Walmart will be among the growing ranks of retailers who will need to pass price increases through to consumers in order to maintain profits. And even though he didn’t directly say Walmart would be raising prices, the company’s competitors will surely infer as much, which is welcome news for those who tend to base pricing decision off of where Walmart is at and can now anticipate somewhat of a rational pricing environment through the summer.

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