REAL ESTATE

Virtual Premise augments real estate solution

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta Real estate software provider Virtual Premise said Thursday it has released a newly enhanced VP Retail Edition, which includes an advanced strategy and analytics module providing visibility into critical store performance and real estate information.

This latest release consolidates critical deal, store, lease, demographic, sales and center information with data from other business systems into actionable information. The technology allows retailers to more effectively monitor store performance and strategy execution from a real estate perspective.

According to the company, embedded within the basic structure and functionality of the VP Retail Edition are industry best practices for eliminating information silos, opening stores faster, staying within budget, better managing existing portfolios and leveraging available lease terms.

The strategy and analytics module provides enhanced business intelligence, efficiently consolidating market and competitor information, lease, and store performance indicators into one central system.

Virtual Premise will demonstrate the new real estate technology solution to retailers in the company’s booth number S6653 at the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) RECon, May 23-25, in Las Vegas.

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Walmart increases charitable giving

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Walmart announced that its charitable giving in the United States totaled more than $467 million in cash and in-kind gifts in fiscal year ending 2010 (FYE10, Feb. 1, 2009 to Jan. 31) — an $89 million increase over the previous year’s giving. In international markets, Walmart gave $45 million in cash and in-kind gifts.

Walmart said an area it focused on in the United States was food banks, reporting that it had donated more than 127 million pounds of food, an increase of 81 million pounds over its fiscal year 2008 totals.

 

“We’ve challenged ourselves to look at ways to make long-lasting impacts in communities around the globe by funding programs that address critical needs, like hunger, education and job training,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “Our business is growing and as a result we’re fortunate that our charitable giving is increasing as well.”

 

Other donations included $100 gift cards presented to 40,000 teachers through Walmart’s Teacher Rewards program and more than 90,000 bottles of water, 24,000 blankets, 27,000 tents and more than 20,000 units of medical supplies like gauze and surgical masks for Haiti earthquake relief.

 

In addition, Walmart associates in the United States donated more than 1.5 million volunteer hours in 2009, a 25% increase over the previous fiscal year, the company reported.

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Borders sees 4Q, FY earnings growth

BY CSA STAFF

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Borders Group reported that earnings per share from continuing operations in the fourth quarter improved to 91 cents from 48 cents in the same period one year ago. For the full year, the loss from continuing operations improved to $1.83 per share compared with a loss from continuing operations of $3.07 per share in 2008.

Comparable-store sales in the fourth quarter declined 14% and 8.5% in the Borders and Waldenbooks segments, respectively.  For the full year, comparable-store sales declined 14.4% and 8.1% in the Borders and Waldenbooks segments, respectively.

 

“Restoring the financial health and profitability of the company remains our top priority,” said Borders Group interim president and CEO Mike Edwards. “We took important steps toward this goal with the long-term extension of our existing credit facility and the additional capital provided by the new term loan. We have made significant operational and financial improvements and will maintain those disciplines as we shift our focus now to growing market share by acquiring, engaging and retaining customers through a transformation of the Borders brand. I’m pleased with the cooperation we have received from our bank group, lenders, vendors, partners and associates who share our vision for a successful Borders.”

Total sales at Borders superstores in the fourth quarter were $723.1 million, down 14.2% from a year ago. For the full year, total segment sales were $2.3 billion, down 13.7% from 2008. Total fourth quarter sales at stores within the Waldenbooks Specialty Retail segment were $163 million, a 16.7% decline from same period last year. For the full year, total segment sales were $387.3 million, down 19.3% from 2008 due to store closures.

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