FINANCE

Wal-Mart Set to Unveil New Design for Supercenters

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is launching a new design for its supercenters, which will feature wider aisles, lower shelves and a more convenient layout.

The company is to unveil the designs Wednesday at stores in Rogers, Ark., and Fayetteville, Ark.

The new design is intended to place sections of the store in more convenient areas. For instance, the pharmacy is next to the food section, instead of its customary spot on the general-merchandise side.

The redesigned stores will feature more directional signs, and the lower shelves will improve sight lines for customers, the company said. Wal-Mart is also introducing brighter colors to make shopping areas more inviting and a color scheme to define different merchandise areas.

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Lhermite joins Playlogic as manager of Game Factory

BY CSA STAFF

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands and NEW YORK Playlogic Entertainment announced that Olivier Lhermite joins Playlogic as managing director of its in-house development studio; the Playlogic Game Factory. Lhermite previously worked as group technical director at Electronic Arts on popular franchises like the FIFA, NBA and NHL series.

Dominique Morel, chief technical officer at Playlogic, said: “Olivier’s strong managerial background and vast industry experience will help us to embark on new exciting IPs and technological excellence.”

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Whirlpool to cut 5,000 jobs

BY CSA STAFF

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. Whirlpool announced that in order to reduce costs, it has cut approximately 5,000 jobs across its global organization, including both jobs that have already been announced through plant closures along with new reductions taking place now and through the end of 2009.

In North America specifically, Whirlpool said the cuts would affect about 500 positions.

 

According to Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool chairman and ceo, the actions are expected to produce savings of approximately $275 million on an annualized basis. “While decisions to eliminate jobs and close facilities are very difficult, they are necessary to create a cost-effective business structure. These changes will ensure that our company is proactively taking the necessary steps to adjust its cost structure and production capacity to lower expected demand levels.”

 

Whirlpool’s staff reductions come after the company announced that earning from continuing operations decreased 7% to $163 million, or $2.15 per diluted share, compared to $175 million, or $2.20 per diluted share reported during the previous year’s quarter. Revenue of $4.9 billion for the quarter increased 1% from the $4.8 billion reported in the third quarter of 2007.

“We are in the midst of a rapidly changing and very challenging economic environment. We have seen a sharp drop in demand in North America and Europe during the third quarter, and we do not expect demand conditions to improve in the near term,” said Fettig, Whirlpool chairman and ceo. “Our third-quarter results were negatively impacted by declining demand and record levels of cost inflation. These unfavorable factors were partially offset by improved price/mix and productivity.

“The global credit crisis has had a profound negative impact on what was already a weakening and very fragile global economy. Declining home values, rising unemployment and very low consumer confidence levels will likely prolong a negative demand environment at least through the middle of 2009.”

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