FINANCE

Weak November for Wal-Mart

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. predicted a rare decline in monthly sales on Saturday, even as shoppers crowded stores on Black Friday. Wal-Mart estimated that November comp-store sales fell 0.1% at its U.S. stores open at least a year, marking the company’s first monthly comp-store sales decline since April 1996.

The retailer will provide a final monthly sales report, including details of Black Friday sales, on Thursday. Wal-Mart had expected comp-store sales to be flat compared with the same period last year, which many Wall Street analysts had viewed as disappointing. Wal-Mart’s four-week November sales period ended on Friday.

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FINANCE

Couche-Tard Profit Up 35%

BY CSA STAFF

Toronto, Couche-Tard Inc. said profit in its second quarter ended Oct. 15 rose 35% on more profitable gasoline sales. Net income climbed to $74.7 million, from $55.5 million a year earlier. Sales for the three months rose 15% to $2.76 billion from $2.39 billion.

The company, which gets more than 60% of sales from gasoline, last month agreed to acquire 236 stations and stores in the United States from Shell Oil Co., giving it about 5,205 outlets in the United States and Canada.

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OPERATIONS

Office Depot to Move Headquarters

BY CSA STAFF

Boca Raton, Fla., Office Depot Inc. broke ground Tuesday on a new headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. The facility, expected to be completed in 2008, will replace a current headquarters in Delray Beach. It will accommodate up to 2,500 people, 500 more than the current facility.

?“It symbolizes not only our growth, from a company operating a single store in South Florida to a $15 billion enterprise serving customers in 42 countries, but also our commitment to the local community that gave us our start,” Office Depot’s Chairman and CEO, Steve Odland, said in a statement. ??

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