FINANCE

U.S. retail sales rise in November

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — Tuesday’s report by the U.S. Department of Commerce showed a fifth straight month of sales gains in November for U.S. retailers. Monthly retail sales figures for November were up 0.8% over October and 7.7% over November 2009.

Retail sales excluding auto sales were up 1.2% over the previous month and 6.7% over November 2009.

Department stores were the big November winners, recording the biggest sales rise in two years of 2.8%.

Overall retail sales gains in November were also bolstered by strong sales among clothing retailers, as well as home improvement and sporting goods retailers, which recorded year-over-year growth of more than 12%.

“Growing consumer confidence and a successful opening to the holiday shopping season undoubtedly helped bolster store traffic and spending in November,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “The cheerfulness on display around the retail industry is not only a symptom of the holiday spirit, but an indication of optimism as consumers appear eager to get back in the game.”

On the shopping center front, the International Council of Shopping Centers also reported Tuesday that U.S. shopping center sales rose by a strong 1.0% (its strongest monthly gain since March 2010 when sales rose 1.3%).

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FINANCE

Best Buy Q3 profit misses, cuts full-year forecast

BY CSA STAFF

Minneapolis — Best Buy Co. reported an unexpected decline in fiscal third-quarter profit Tuesday, as lower demand for televisions and videogames led to a sales shortfall in the United States. The chain cut its full-year forecast.

Best Buy Co. said that its third-quarter net income fell 4% to $217 million, while revenue fell 1% to $11.89 billion. Same-store sales fell 3.3%. Results missed Wall Street projections.

Best Buy said it has cut its full-year outlook, as it faces stepped-up competition from online and discount stores.

“There remains a significant amount of business still ahead of us in the holiday selling season, and we don’t have complete visibility to how customers will behave over the next several weeks,” said Jim Muehlbauer, Best Buy’s finance chief.

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News

Walgreen, McDonald’s e-mail databases breached

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco — A report Monday by Associated Press said that Walgreen Co., McDonald’s and Twitter each reported unrelated security breaches, involving customer e-mail addresses and other private information.

Walgreen said hackers who gained access to a list of customer e-mail addresses may have sent spam directing customers to enter personal data into outside websites.

AP also reported that McDonald’s warned customers that private information they supplied when signing up for online promotions or subscriptions was exposed when a subcontractor improperly handled the data.

Walgreen has not identified how many customers were affected but told customers on Friday that no personal information beyond e-mail addresses was exposed. "Your prescription information, account and any other personally identifiable information were not at risk because such data is not contained in the e-mail system, and no access was gained to Walgreen’s consumer data systems," Walgreen told customers.

McDonald’s Corp. said that some customers’ e-mail and other contact information, birthdates and other specifics were exposed but has not said how many people were affected, where, when or for how long. It said its database that was compromised did not include any financial information or Social Security numbers, and that it is working with law enforcement.

Twitter also reported that hackers broke into users’ accounts and sent spam promoting acai berry drinks. Twitter said only a small share of its 175 million users were affected, though it didn’t know how many.

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