FINANCE

Surprise — Gap had a happy holiday

BY Marianne Wilson

Gap Inc. turned in a positive holiday performance, reversing a string of declines, fueled by strong results from its Old Navy division and improvements by its namesake unit. The apparel giant also boosted its guidance for the year.

Gap’s net sales for the November and December holiday season edged up 1% compared to the year-ago period. Total same-store sales rose 2%.

Gap net sales for the five-week period ended December 31, 2016 increased 3% to $2.07 billion. Same-store sales for December rose 4% versus a 5% decrease last year.

Gap’s Old Navy division was the star of December, with a 12% increase in same-store sales. Same-store sales rose 1% at Gap Global, and fell 7% at Banana Republic.

Based on its results, Gap said it now expects earnings to be "modestly above” the high end of its previous adjusted guidance range of $1.92."

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FINANCE

Report: Walmart Canada settles dispute with Visa

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A six-month battle between Walmart Canada and Visa has come to an end.

The retailer, which threatened to ban the card processor from all of its stores nationwide due to “unacceptably high” credit-card transaction fees, has ended its feud, and will resume accepting Visa cards at its more than 400 stores starting Friday, Jan. 6.

“We have come to an agreement with Visa which allows us to continue offering Visa as a form of payment in our [Canadian] stores,” Walmart said on its website. “Customers in Manitoba and Thunder Bay, Ontario, will be able to use their Visa credit card starting January 6, 2017.”

Walmart’s Canadian division stopped accepting Visa at its three Thunder Bay outlets on July 18, due to increasing transaction fees, and extended the ban three months later across 16 stores in Manitoba. If the partners could not reach an agreement, the retail giant threatened to ultimately stop accepting Visa at all its stores in Canada.

Credit card processing fees are typically based on a percentage of the total value of goods sold, but these rates differ between cards and stores. To offset these rates, retailers absorb fees into the cost of goods, a practice that translates into higher merchandise prices for consumers.

“To keep prices low we continuously assess opportunities to lower our operating expenses. Walmart Canada pays over $100 million in fees to accept credit cards each and every year. Lowering costs such as these is necessary for us to be able to keep our prices low and continue saving our customers money,” Walmart said on its website in September.

Canada is reported to endure some of the highest interchange fees in the world — averaging 1.78%. The United States followed with a close second of 1.73%, according to research firm Value Penguin.

Neither Walmart Canada nor Visa shared the new cost structure.

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DEVELOPMENT/REDEVELOPMENT

New center set to rise in Richmond

BY Al Urbanski

A site near the entrance to Innsbrook Office Park in Glen Allen, Virginia, north of Richmond, has been slated as the home of Dominion Shoppes at Innsbrook, a project of Dominion GA, LLC.

In a deal brokered by Cushman & Wakefield/Thalhimer, Dominion acquired the 2.4-acre tract from Doswell Properties for $2.9 million. The planned center is 100% pre-leased to tenants including Starbucks, Blaze Pizza, American Family Care, and Noodles & Company.

Jordan Nielsen and Alicia Farrell of Cushman & Wakefield/Thalhimer handled both the sale and leasing on behalf of Dominion.


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