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Wal-Mart Q2 profit rises 3.6%, same-store sales fall more than expected

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores reported Tuesday that it posted a profit of $3.59 billion in the second quarter, a 3.6% increase over net income of $3.47 billion in the year-ago period.

The company cited aggressive cost-cutting and robust growth in China, Brazil and Mexico for the improved earnings.

However, same-store sales for the quarter ended July 31 disappointed Wall Street, falling 1.4% instead of the 0.26% expected by analysts. At Wal-Mart’s namesake stores, same-store sales fell 1.8%, while at Sam’s Clubs the measure was up 1%.

The 1.4% overall decline in same-store sales marked the fifth straight quarterly drop for the world’s largest retailer.

Revenue rose almost 3% to $103.7 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $105.3 billion.

“We continue to focus on our priorities of growth, leverage and return,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores’ president and CEO, said in a statement. “The slow economic recovery will continue to affect our customers, and we expect they will remain cautious about spending.”

Like other discounters, Wal-Mart benefited from the downturn as consumers tightened belts and traded down. However, as the economy has turned the corner, shoppers are starting to trade back up again. Besides the loss of some of its more affluent shoppers, Wal-Mart is also impacted by lower-income customers who continue to be squeezed by unemployment and tight credit conditions.

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Polo Ralph Lauren to sponsor interactive clinic with Venus Williams

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Polo Ralph Lauren announced that it is presenting the Legends Clinic with Venus Williams as part of its sponsorship of the U.S. Open.

On Aug. 26, in partnership with Mercedes-Benz, Polo Ralph Lauren will offer an interactive tennis clinic with Williams on Randall’s Island in New York. Williams will answer questions, demonstrate technique and offer hints and tips on how to improve your game during this live one-hour interactive clinic, the company reported. The clinic will reach a global audience as it will be streamed live online exclusively at RalphLauren.com and accessible on mobile devices at m.ralphlauren.com/USOpen.

“It is truly exciting to partner with Polo Ralph Lauren in this unique endeavor and to bring my professional expertise and personal experiences to tennis fans around the world,” said Williams.

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Best Buy launches mobile rewards app

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy has announced it plans to bring a location-based retail experiment, using the “shopkick” mobile application rewards system, to 257 U.S. stores by Oct. 1.

Beginning Aug. 17, shoppers can download the free shopkick application to their smart phone. Customers who have the app open when they enter a participating Best Buy store with shopkick signal technology installed will receive instant rewards, or “kickbucks,” that can be redeemed in the store or converted into Best Buy certificates through a user’s shopkick account.

 

Additionally, Best Buy said it has integrated shopkick directly into its point of sale system to streamline the redemption of special in-store offers and/or added bonuses for scanning barcodes of specific products, all of which will be sent to the user’s phone. Customers may walk up to the cashier, provide the mobile phone number connected to their shopkick account, and any applicable personalized discounts immediately appear on their receipt.

“We think consumers have more opportunities than ever to bridge their digital and physical shopping experiences, particularly through smart phones and mobile technology,” said Matthew Smith, VP marketing services, Best Buy. “We intend to explore ways we can use the power of location-based technology to personalize a Best Buy shopping experience, from check-in to check-out, with rewards and offers delivered right on a customer’s smart phone.”

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