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Urban Outfitters’ Q2 profit plummets 21%

BY Staff Writer

Philadelphia — Urban Outfitters reported Monday that profit for the quarter ended July 31 dropped 21% to $56.7 million, from $71.7 million a year earlier. The company blamed increased expenses related to investments in e-commerce, retail catalogs and technology for the performance slip.

The operator of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People and Terrain clothing stores saw revenue rise 10% to $609.2 million, beating analysts’ expected $604.1 million.

Same-store sales slipped 2%.

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Sears Holdings names finance chief

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings announced Tuesday that Robert Schriesheim will join the company as EVP and CFO. Schriesheim, who starts with the company immediately as EVP, will assume his responsibilities as CFO effective Aug. 22.

Schriesheim, 51, most recently was CFO for Hewitt Associates, leading the company’s global financial and administrative roles until its merger with Aon Corp.

Prior to joining Hewitt, Schriesheim was EVP, CFO and a director of Lawson Software, the world’s third largest publicly traded enterprise resource planning software company, where he helped lead a five-year corporate transformation. During this period Rob’s strategic, operational, and financial skills helped Lawson drive material improvement in gross margins and triple its operating margins, while investing in new products, quality upgrades and acquisitions to fund growth initiatives.

"We’re delighted to have Rob join our team at Sears Holdings. Rob is a proven global chief financial officer and brings excellent experience at driving operating performance and delivering value in complex organizations undergoing rapid change," said Lou D’Ambrosio, CEO and president of Sears Holdings. "Rob brings a passion for performance, creating value, and developing people. His leadership and financial acumen, together with his track record of delivering results, will be important skills as we accelerate our transformation and deliver compelling value to our customers, associates, and shareholders."

Schriesheim holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Princeton University. He is also a member of The Economic Club of Chicago and The Chicago Club. He has served on numerous public corporate boards and is currently a director of Skyworks Solutions.

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Wal-Mart profits rise in Q2, U.S. same-store sales flat

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores reported Tuesday that profit for the quarter ended July 31 rose to $3.8 billion, up from $3.6 billion in the year-ago period. Overall revenue, up 5.4% to $109.37 billion, topped Wall Street’s expectations.

Yet, the world’s largest retailer is feeling the pinch from a tight economy that is slow to loosen. Wal-Mart U.S., the company’s biggest unit, posted a 0.9% drop in same-store sales, the ninth consecutive quarterly drop and beneath analysts’ estimates for a 0.6% fall.

"We remain concerned about the economic pressure on our customers and the uncertain impact it can have on their shopping behavior," Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said.

U.S. sales rose 1.8% for the quarter. On the international front, the company remains strong, as sales on a constant currency basis were up 7.1% for the second quarter. Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and China had the largest sales increases during the quarter.

Wal-Mart continues to ride the success of Sam’s Club, as sales for the warehouse club operator rose 5% on a same-store basis.

During the quarter, Wal-Mart Stores opened its first small-concept stores in the United States — Wal-Mart Express — and acquired a majority stake in South African retail chain Massmart. The company is also in the throes of overhauling its online business in an effort to improve the e-commerce facet of its business.

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