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Toys ‘R’ Us problems mount as Q1 loss widens to $111 million

BY Marianne Wilson

Wayne, N.J. — Toys "R" Us reported a loss of $111 million for the first quarter, compared with a year-earlier loss of $60 million. It was the struggling chain’s worst quarter in a decade.

Net sales for the quarter, ended May 4, declined 7.8% to $2.4 billion. Same-store sales were down 8.4% domestically and fell 5.8% internationally.

In a statement, Antonio Urcelay, interim CEO, blamed the weak sales on "the ongoing challenges of the global economic environment and the prolonged cool weather conditions around the world," which hurt sales of outdoor toys.

Additionally, the continued weakness in the electronics and entertainment category negatively affected revenues," he said.

Urcelay, who is head of the company’s European operations, was named interim CEO in May, replacing Gerald Storch, who stepped down in February.

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Urban Outfitters bows to pressure from anti-drug group

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Bowing to pressure from the Partnership at Drugfree.org, fashion retailer Urban Outfitters has agreed to pull merchandise made to look like prescription pill bottles, including prescription label flasks and pint and shot glasses, from its shelves.

Urban Outfitters issued a statement to CNN late last week confirming that it was discontinuing the sale of products made to look like prescription drug paraphernalia. “In this extensive range of product we recognize that from time to time there may be individual items that are misinterpreted by people who are not our customer. As a result of this misinterpretation we are electing to discontinue these few styles from our current product offering," the statement read.

The Partnership at Drugfree.org was alerted in May by the California Friday Night Live Partnership that the retailer, which counts teens among its catered shoppers, was carrying the controversial product offering. The organization immediately launched an advocacy campaign and circulated a petition requesting that Urban Outfitters remove the products from their stores and website. The petition, which received support from U.S. Representative Hal Rogers; Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Kentucky governor Steve Beshear and 22 state attorneys general, received more than 4,700 signatures.

“On behalf of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, our partners and the families across the country affected by the issue of prescription drug misuse and abuse, we commend Urban Outfitters for doing the right thing by discontinuing the sale of these products from their current offerings,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO, the Partnership at Drugfree.org, in a statement. “These products, which linked medicine and alcohol and were aimed at a high school and college-age audience, wrongfully glorified the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs. All teenagers — regardless of who they are or where they live — are subject to the lure of drugs and alcohol. For this reason, the Partnership at Drugfree.org continues to focus its efforts on educating, motivating, supporting and empowering families with the resources they need to help protect children from drug and alcohol abuse, most specifically in conjunction with the Medicine Abuse Project, our national initiative to prevent half a million teens from abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter cough medicine by 2017.”

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Former Mexican president headlines supply chain event

BY CSA STAFF

Former Mexican president Felipe Calderón will be one of the key note speakers this fall when the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals gathers in Denver for the organization’s annual global conference.

Calderón, fresh off of serving a six year that ended last fall as Mexico’s president, is scheduled to give a key note address titled, "Expansion, Innovation, and Transformation: What It Takes to Lead." Calderón will share his perspectives on how to ensure that countries continue to forge economic ties and overcome challenges that may exist. He will offer key insights into strategic policymaking and implementing long-term solutions in an interdependent world. The group’s conference is scheduled for October 20-23

"The supply chain profession is critical to organizations around the world, as well as to countries and their economies," said Rick Blasgen, president and CEO of CSCMP. "Managing trade between Mexico and the world is crucial to the success of all. President Calderón is a dynamic world leader with a proven track record of stabilizing his country’s economy after the Great Recession and creating solutions to the pressing challenges that faced Mexico. His message will be one that every supply chain management professional will want to hear."

CSCMP’s Annual Global Conference is the largest of its kind for the supply chain management profession, attracting upwards of 3,000 practitioners, educators, and thought leaders from around the world.

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