FINANCE

Wal-Mart takes controlling stake in Chinese online retailer

BY Staff Writer

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores’ investment in China continues to grow as the company now has a controlling stake in one of the country’s fast-growing e-commerce websites. The company announced that it has reached an agreement to increase its investment in the holding company of Yihaodian, bringing its total ownership stake to approximately 51%. Yihaodian is a leader in online grocery sales, as well as in such categories as consumer electronics and apparel.

Closing of the transaction is subject to Chinese government regulatory approval.

“This investment further enables Walmart to deliver a superb customer experience to Chinese consumers that are already connected to the world through smartphones and social media,” said Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global e-commerce.

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OPERATIONS

Collective Brands’ Perfomance + Lifestyle Group to expand overseas

BY Staff Writer

Lexington, Mass. — The Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group (PLG), which owns such brands as Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Keds and Stride Rite, announced today that is has signed new agreements with partners in 10 countries to continue the rapid international expansion of several of its brands in Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, five South American countries and the Czech Republic.

“Teaming with the right strategic partner in each market is critical to the successful international expansion of our brands, and we are thrilled today to be announcing partnerships with these leading firms to expand the brand presence of Saucony, Sperry Top-Sider, Keds and PRO-Keds across these important international markets,” said Gregg Ribatt, CEO of the Collective Brands PLG unit.

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FINANCE

Alliance renews agreement with The Buckle

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Alliance Data Systems announced it has signed a multi-year renewal agreement to continue providing private label credit card services to The Buckle, Kearney, Neb., which operates more than 430 stores in 43 states, as well as a robust e-commerce business.

Buckle cardholders will continue to earn "B-Reward" points with every purchase. Exclusive to cardholders, the B-Rewards points-based loyalty program allows cardholders to accumulate points that can be redeemed for dollars-off certificates for in-store or online purchases.

Additionally, Alliance Data will continue providing mobile acquisition services, enabling customers to apply for a Buckle credit card via mobile device.

Founded in 1948, Buckle posted annual net sales of $1.06 billion in fiscal 2011. The Buckle has been an Alliance Data client since 1995.

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