Target Q1 profit plunges 29%; lowers full-year outlook
Minneapolis — Target Corp. reported a 26% drop in its first-quarter profit as unseasonably cool weather, the payroll tax increase and other economic pressures took a toll on sales.
Target earned $498 million the three months ended May 4, down from $697 million in the year-ago period. Sales rose 1% to $16.71 billion.
Same-store sales fell 0.6%. The number of transactions fell 1.9%.
"Target’s first-quarter earnings were below expectations as a result of softer-than-expected sales, particularly in apparel and other seasonal and weather-sensitive categories," Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target, said in a statement.
Still, Target remains confident in its strategies to attract shoppers.
"While we are disappointed in our first-quarter performance, we remain confident in our strategy, and we continue to invest in initiatives, including Canada, our digital channels, and CityTarget, that will drive Target’s long-term growth."
Target has begun opening the stores in Canada that it purchased from Zellers. It is on track to have some 125 location open in Canada by yearend.
Walmart taps former Bush counselor as EVP, corporate affairs
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has appointed Dan Bartlett, former senior counselor to George W. Bush, as its EVP of corporate affairs. Bartlett was most recently president and CEO of the U.S. arm of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a global business advisory firm serving corporations, nonprofits and associations in 52 countries.
Bartlett will report to president and CEO Mike Duke, and will serve as a member of the company’s executive council. His responsibilities will include overseeing external communications, government relations and sustainability, as well as the Walmart Foundation, which contributed more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind donations last year.
"Dan’s personal integrity, strong professional skills and broad understanding of world affairs make him the ideal leader to continue moving us forward,” said Duke. “He has had key roles in government and at a major communications company. He has also counseled a wide range of multinational corporate clients in areas such as growth strategy, crisis management and public opinion. He is known for being straightforward, a good listener and collaborative – all traits that will serve him well at Walmart."
At Hill+Knowlton, Bartlett helped lead the firm’s international growth and managed its day-to-day operations. He provided strategic counsel to the company’s largest accounts, which represent key industries, including finance, telecommunications and defense. He has also helped multinational companies and NGOs build and align their sustainability, public policy and philanthropic programs.
"Growing up in a small Texas town, I’ve seen first-hand the opportunity Walmart provides and the positive impact it can have on local communities," said Bartlett. "Now, Walmart is in a unique position to make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world. I am honored and excited to be part of that.”
As a senior counselor to George W. Bush, Bartlett was responsible for all aspects of the then president’s strategic communications planning, formulation of policy and implementation of the presidential agenda. He also oversaw the White House press office and the offices of communications, media affairs and speechwriting and global communications. Bartlett also played a key role in George W. Bush’s presidential and Texas gubernatorial campaigns.
Bartlett has a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently an adjunct professor at the university’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Bartlett, his wife Allyson and their four young sons will be moving to northwest Arkansas.
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Lowe’s Q1 sales fall
New York — Cool weather affected sales at Lowe’s for the first quarter ended May 3.
Lowe’s saw net earnings of $540 million for the quarter, a 2.5% increase over the same period a year ago. Sales for the quarter decreased 0.5% to $13.1 billion from $13.2 billion in the year-ago quarter, while comparable-store sales decreased 0.7%.
The world’s second largest home improvement retailer reported its results a day after rival Home Depot announced first-quarter sales of $19.1 billion, up 7.4%.
“Results for indoor categories were solid for the quarter, a testament to the team’s continued focus on improving our core business through cross-functional collaboration and consistent execution in stores and across other selling channels,” said Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO.
“Cooler than normal temperatures and greater precipitation resulted in a delayed spring selling season, which impacted our results in exterior categories,” Niblock added. “While overall performance in the month of March was particularly soft, April improved significantly, and we have maintained that positive momentum through the first few weeks of May.”
The company repurchased $1.0 billion of stock and paid $178 million in dividends in the first quarter of 2013, moves that it described as "delivering on the commitment to return excess cash to shareholders."
As of May 3, 2013, Lowe’s operated 1,755 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico, representing 197.5 million sq. ft. of retail selling space. Lowe’s said it expects to open about 10 new stores this year.
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