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Walmart, Target to deliver mobile wallet to consumers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Following Wednesday reports that large retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores, Target Corp. and 7-Eleven are developing a mobile payment network, Wal-Mart confirmed on Thursday that a new company has been formed by Wal-Mart and other leading U.S. retailers to develop and deploy an m-commerce solution much like the Starbucks Square initiative that was announced last week.

The group, Merchant Customer Exchange, will integrate a range of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs available via any smartphone. Retailers participating in the MCX include, besides Wal-Mart, CVS/pharmacy, Hy-Vee, Publix, Sears Holdings Corp. and Target, among others. Additional members are expected to be announced in the coming months.

"MCX will leverage mobile technology to give consumers a faster and more convenient shopping experience while eliminating unnecessary costs for all stakeholders," Wal-Mart corporate VP and assistant treasurer Mike Cook said. "The MCX platform will employ secure technology to deliver an efficiency-enhancing mobile solution available to all merchant categories, including retail stores, casual dining, petroleum and e-commerce."

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Ross Stores profit jumps 23%; outlines succession plan

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Pleasanton, Calif. — Ross Stores Inc. reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended July 28 jumped 23% to $182 million, from $148.3 million in the year-ago period. Results met Wall Street expectations, but the company issued profit predictions for the current quarter and full year that were below average forecasts. Same-store sales rose 7% in the quarter.

Late Wednesday, Ross announced its succession plan that calls for current vice chairman and CEO Michael Balmuth to remain in place through June 1, 2014, when he will move to the job of executive chairman.

Norman Ferber, the current chairman, will become chairman emeritus June 2014 and his current consulting responsibilities will remain unchanged, the company said.

Ross said that it plans to elect its new CEO from its current lineup of senior executives.

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Neiman Marcus prepares to go public

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — A Thursday report by the Wall Street Journal said that Warburg Pincus and TPG, the private-equity owners of Neiman Marcus Group Inc., are looking for an exit.

The firms paid $5.1 billion for Neiman Marcus seven years ago; the company is currently valued, according to analysts, at about $4 billion.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, WSJ said that the department store chain and its investors are conferring about laying the foundation for an eventual public offering, although the event is said not to be imminent.

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