U.K. Retailers Stop Accepting Checks
The BBC reported that effective Feb. 25, Tesco would no longer accept paper checks at the checkout lanes in its 2,000 stores. Additionally, Marks & Spencer will adopt the same policy, effective March 1, according to the BBC report.
Tesco had recently banned checks from select stores to test consumer reaction. The decision to stop accepting checks at all its stores was made following the trial period, reportedly because customers would benefit because banning checks would result in improved security and faster service. Recognizing that some customers, such as elderly shoppers who have relied on checks for years, might object to the ban, Tesco will train its associates to help with the transition by offering advice on other payment options. However, consumers’ preference for check payment has been steadily declining.
Citing statistics from Apacs, the U.K.’s payment association, the BBC noted that only 4% of all retail sales in the U.K. are paid by check vs. 60% paid by credit or debit card.
BBC quoted Apacs’ spokeswoman, Jemma Smith, who said, “Over the last year or so we’ve started to see a growing number of retailers who have decided not to accept cheques, so we are definitely starting to see the death of the cheque on the High Street.”
Additional retailers that, according to the BBC, are no longer accepting checks included Asda, Argos, Boots, Debenhams, Next, Sainsbury’s and WH Smith.
Lampert, the Eli Manning of retail?
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. The New York Giants triumph over the highly favored New England Patriots in the Super Bowl earlier this month, has become an example of coming from the bottom to win it all. Sears Holdings chairman Edward Lampert is one of the latest to use the Giants win, even going as far to compare himself, and the leaders of his company, to quarterback Eli Manning.
The Giants analogy, and Eli Manning comparison, is applied mainly to the company’s Kmart division. In a letter to investors, posted on the Sears Holdings investor relations Web site, Lampert said during Kmart’s bankruptcy in 2002, the unit was “like an undrafted free agent who nobody thought had a chance to play in the big leagues.” Lampert went on to say, “Like Eli Manning, we know what it’s like to be underestimated and questioned, but we intend to keep working on our game to achieve our full potential.”
Sears Holdings reported net income of $426 million, or $3.17 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 2, compared with net income of $811 million, or $5.27 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 3, 2007. For the fiscal year ended Feb. 2, 2008, net income was $826 million, or $5.70 per diluted share compared with net income of $1.5 billion, or $9.58 per diluted share, for the fiscal year ended Feb. 3, 2007.
Circuit City investor seeks to replace board
RICHMOND, Va. Circuit City Stores today acknowledged that it has received two proposals from shareholder Wattles Capital Management regarding its board of directors. Wattles holds approximately 6.5% of the outstanding shares of the company’s common stock.
Circuit City reported that Wattles proposed the idea of replacing the company’s Circuit City 12-member board of directors with its own nominees. Circuit City said its board of directors will review carefully the shareholder’s proposals and the qualifications of the nominees in accordance with its fiduciary duties, mindful that the proposal would give the shareholder absolute control of the entire board, which would be disproportionate to its relative ownership of the company’s shares.