FINANCE

Survey: Retail CFOs Concerned About Election

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago About 69% of CFOs at leading U.S. retailers are worried about tax reform as a result of the 2008 presidential election, according to a recent study by BDO Seidman, LLP, an accounting and consulting organization.

Consumer confidence is also top of mind, with 57% of CFOs citing high fuel costs as the issue having the greatest impact on consumers so far in 2008, up by 10% from the first half of 2007.

Looking forward to the balance of 2008, fewer CFOs (47%) cite fuels costs as having the greatest impact on consumer confidence, as CFOs report concern over other consumer issues, including the housing market (28%), the election (13%) and inflation (11%).

With regard to the recent economic slump, 47% of the CFOs are predicting that the economy will experience a turnaround by July of 2009, with the highest concentration of CFOs (28%) citing the second quarter as the most promising.

“Last year, we saw consumers start to pull back when the economy weakened, but fuel costs skyrocketed in the first half of 2008, draining consumers’ discretionary income and spurring a perfect storm of economic factors that have lead us to the current recessionary climate,” said Al Ferrara, a partner in the retail and consumer products practice at BDO Seidman.

“Retailers may remain wary for the rest of the year, as consumers stretch their dollars to cover inflation and, of course, heating bills,” Ferrara said. “Further, on top of shrinking margins, it is also an election year and most retail CFOs are very concerned about higher tax payments and fewer incentives as a result of any tax reform.” 

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Tuesday Morning engages AT&T for telecommunications management

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS Tuesday Morning and AT&T have entered into two three-year contract agreements, under which AT&T will provide long distance and broadband aggregation services for Tuesday Morning’s retail locations.

Through the AT&T BusinessDirect Portal, Tuesday Morning will be able to manage its long distance and broadband services. The portal provides a visual breakdown of each store’s and region’s usage of telecommunications services.

 

“In evaluating our broadband and voice services, we wanted to have better insight into what we were spending, and AT&T offered a solution that enabled us to do that,” said Stephen Heinmiller, senior vp and cio for Tuesday Morning. “By streamlining our telecommunications process across the company, we are now seeing where and how our Information Technology dollars are spent. This type of efficiency will help us analyze and optimize our cost structure.”

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Wal-Mart launches voter registration campaign

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart has launched a voter registration campaign that will feature public service announcements on its in-store television network later this month to encourage both shoppers and associates to register and vote in the November elections.

The campaign will include two, 15-second PSAs that will encourage viewers to register to vote and cast their ballots in the upcoming election. The PSAs will run in stores through Election Day.

The company has also launched a voter registration portal on its corporate Web site, www.walmartstores.com/vote, and feature posters with voter registration information at nearly 600 Sam’s Club U.S. locations.

 

“Pollsters have found that our core shoppers, Walmart women, are an influential demographic in the upcoming presidential election,” said Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart’s evp of corporate affairs and government relations. “Our voter registration campaign is designed to encourage millions of customers and associates to register and cast their vote.”

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