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Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott to Retire in February

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. In an unexpected move, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Friday chief executive Lee Scott will retire in February and be replaced by the head of its international division, Mike Duke. Scott will continue as chairman.

Duke, 58, will take over the reins from Scott, 59, effective Feb. 1. Duke also becomes a member of the board of directors effective immediately. The company is expected to name Duke’s replacement before he leaves his role as president of Wal-Mart International.

The move comes a week after the retailer said third-quarter profit rose 10% as shoppers hunting for discounts snapped up early Christmas promotions. It also comes as Wal-Mart, which is expanding in countries around the globe, plans to shift more than half of its international capital-spending budget to faster-growing emerging markets in five years.

“This management change occurs at a time of strength and momentum for Wal-Mart,” said Rob Walton, chairman of the Wal-Mart board of directors, in a statement. “Our overall management team has never been stronger. We are confident that the strategy we have in place is the right one for future success and Mike has been actively involved in developing and executing this strategy. We are also pleased that our succession and management-development process continues to develop leaders internally.”

Additionally, Wal-Mart said Eduardo Castro-Wright, 53, was promoted to vice chairman, adding to his current titles of president and chief executive of Walmart U.S. He will take over the company’s global-procurement operation.

The international-business unit is Wal-Mart’s fastest-growing division. Its profit rose 11% during the third quarter, while U.S. profit rose 7%.

Duke joined the company in 1995 and has served in a variety of posts, including president and chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores division in the United States.

“Mike Duke is a highly-respected executive both domestically and internationally, with broad experience throughout the company, having successfully led Wal-Mart’s Logistics Division, U.S. operations, and International operations,” Walton said. “He understands retail and appreciates the complex global environment in which we operate. He is committed to the culture of Wal-Mart, its mission, and to our associates and customers.”

Before joining Wal-Mart, Duke had 23 years of experience as an executive at Federated Department Stores and May Department Stores, which today comprise Macy’s Inc.

Scott joined Wal-Mart in 1979 as assistant director in the logistics division, and became president and chief executive in 2000. Among his accomplishments, Scott is widely credited for spearheading Wal-Mart’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

“It has been an honor to serve as the CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and to work with our dedicated Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club associates around the world,” said Scott. “And it has been a privilege to lead the company Sam Walton created, a company that continues to live the mission and culture he established.”

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Barnes & Noble posts 3Q loss, lowers outlook

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Barnes & Noble reported sales for the third quarter of $1.1 billion, a 4.4% decrease compared to the prior year. Barnes & Noble store sales decreased 4.4% to $971 million, with comparable-store sales decreasing 7.4% for the quarter.

The third quarter net loss was $18.4 million or 34 cents per share.

 

“A significant drop off in customer traffic and consumer spending impacted our business in the third quarter,” said Steve Riggio, ceo of Barnes & Noble. “In a challenging environment with a comparable-store sales decline of 4.6% this year, the company has aggressively managed expenses to operate profitably. Furthermore, the company is taking measures to reduce expenses for the balance of this year and next.”

For the fourth quarter, the company expects comparable-store sales at Barnes & Noble stores to decline 6% to 9%. Fourth quarter earnings per share is expected to be in a range of $1.40 to $1.70. For the full year, the company now expects comparable-store sales at Barnes & Noble stores to decline 5% to 6%. Full year earnings per share is expected to be in a range of $1.30 to $1.60, compared to previous guidance of $1.70 to $1.90.

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Dollar General pushes back Thanksgiving sales

BY CSA STAFF

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. Dollar General announced that it will offer holiday deals a full weak ahead of the traditional Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend.

Starting the Sunday before Thanksgiving, customers will find special savings on items such as DVD players, holiday decorations and gaming systems.

Promotions will continue during the Thanksgiving weekend with deals on cell phones, jeans and MP3 players.

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