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Toys ‘R’ Us names AutoNation exec as CFO

BY Marianne Wilson

Wayne, N.J. – Toys “R” Us, Inc. announced that it has named Michael J. Short executive CFO, effective June 23.

Short, 53, a seasoned finance executive with broad retail and corporate development experience, was most recently executive VP and CFO of AutoNation for seven years.

Prior to his most recent role at AutoNation, Short was executive VP and CFO of Universal Orlando. Earlier in his career, he served in a variety of finance roles at Universal Orlando, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc. and IBM Corporation.

Short succeeds Clay Creasey, who has left the organization after eight years.

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GameStop expands Expo appeal with Twitch deal

BY CSA STAFF

Gamers who can’t make it to Anaheim, California, this fall for GameStop’s third annual Expo will still be able to participate in the retailer’s event thanks to a new relationship with Twitch, the world’s leading online gaming community.

GameStop and Twitch, a video platform with a massive audience, reached an agreement in which Twitch will broadcast live from GameStop’s annual video gaming show known as Expo. The event will be held September 10 and occupies 300,000 sq. ft. at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“With its ability to reach more than 45 million unique viewers in its gamer-focused community, Twitch is the premier live video platform and we are happy to partner with them to bring the excitement of our Expo to gamers that can’t attend the show,” said Bob Puzon, SVP of merchandising at GameStop.

Console manufacturers and game developers who participate in the event include Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Take-Two Interactive and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Twitch will stream live from the primary stage, featuring news as it happens from the show floor, games from marquee publishers, tournament play and interviews with industry leaders, developers and special guests. Gamers will be able to access the stream at www.Twitch.tv/GameStop and through their Xbox One and PlayStation4 consoles and via the Twitch app on their mobile devices.

“GameStop is producing a lot of compelling content at this year’s Expo which our community will definitely appreciate,” said Ernest Le, director, publisher and developer of partnerships at Twitch. “So shining a global spotlight on this historically private event for the first time ever is a big deal.”

GameStop operates more than 6,600 stores across 15 countries.

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Study: Online leading back-to-school channel

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Online is the leading channel for consumers to perform both back-to-school and back-to-college shopping. According to a study from e-commerce marketing technology provider HookLogic and polling company Qriously, 35% of consumers shop for back-to-school suppliers online, while 34% shop in-store and 33% shop both channels (some totals equal more than 100% due to rounding).

Figures for back-to-college shopping tilt more strongly in the favor of online, with 38% of consumers using the online channel to purchase back-to-college items, compared to 30% who shop in-store and 32% who shop both channels.

August is the most popular month to start back-to-school shopping, with 38% of consumers initiating back-to-school shopping in August. Thirty-three percent wait until September and 30% start in July.

Looking ahead, 69% of back-to-school shoppers plan to spend about the same in 2014 as they did in 2013, while 19% intend to spend more and 5% will spend less. Seven percent are not sure. In 2013, traffic for school and office supplies peaked in July, when it was 12-times the rate of the lowest traffic day, recorded in October.

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