OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart answers with global anti-bribery watchdog appointment

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bentonville, Ark. — As part of its answer on Tuesday to a New York Times article regarding compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Wal-Mart Stores VP corporate communications David Tovar announced that the retailer had appointed a global officer to oversee compliance.

The move is just one of the steps that Tovar outlined toward managing issues related to the 1970s law that forbids bribing foreign officials.

Wal-Mart has not yet identified the person who will fill the slot, or when it will be activated.


Read more about the alleged Wal-Mart bribery scandal.

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FINANCE

Jones Group swings to loss on charges in Q1

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Jones Group Inc. reported Wednesday that it swung to a first-quarter loss of $1.2 million, compared with a profit of $25.7 million in the year-ago period. Costs of closing stores, paying severance, acquisitions and a strategic review impacted the results, which still surpassed analysts’ expectations.

Revenue for the manufacturer and retailer of brands such as Nine West, Jones New York and Stuart Weitzman slipped 2.6% to $936 million in the quarter ended March 31, missing Wall Street’s expected $937.3 million in revenue.

“The warmer weather during the quarter, coupled with an early Easter holiday, resulted in stronger sales in all retail channels during the period than expected,” said CEO Wesley R. Card.

He added that the company remains focused on revitalizing core brands, investing in emerging brands and expanding the international footprint.

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FINANCE

GNC Holdings profit soars in Q1

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Pittsburgh — GNC Holdings reported Wednesday that adjusted net income for the quarter ended March 31 surged 85% to $64.5 million, compared with $34.9 million a year earlier.

CEO Joe Fortunato attributed the results to double-digit retail same-store sales growth, a growth in proprietary new products and increased traffic.

Consolidated revenue for the quarter increased 23.4% to $624.3 million; same-store sales grew 15.8% in domestic company-owned stores (including GNC.com sales), and 18.4% in domestic franchise locations.

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