FINANCE

Whole Foods Q3 net up 21%; 94 leases in pipeline

BY Marianne Wilson

Austin, Texas — Whole Foods Market reported that its net income in the third quarter increased 21% to $142 million, better than analysts had expected. The company also sounded a bullish note about expansion.

Walter Robb, co-CEO, Whole Foods, said the company continues to gain market share and still sees the potential for 1,000 stores in the United States alone. It currently operates 355 U.S. locations.

“Our outstanding operational performance is funding our growth, and our new stores are creating a cycle of innovation across the company Robb said. “We have signed 50 new leases over the last 12 months, increasing our development pipeline to 94 leases, and expect accelerating square footage growth for several years to come.”

For the quarter ended July 7, sales increased 12% to $3.1 billion. Same-store sales increased 7.5%. In the current fiscal fourth quarter, however, same-store sales are up 5.8%.

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FINANCE

New York Post: CIT in credit clampdown to J.C. Penney

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — CIT Group Inc., the largest commercial lender in the U.S. apparel industry, has stopped supporting deliveries from smaller manufacturers to J.C. Penney stores, the New York Post reported on Wednesday.

The reason for the crackdown could not be immediately confirmed, the report said, but insiders speculated that CIT got nervous after getting a peek at Penney’s financials.

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NRF, FMI and RILA applaud decision on swipe fees

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation, Food Marketing Institute and Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) both issued statements applauding the ruling on the Federal Reserve Swipe Fee Regulation. The groups were responding to a U.S. District Court ruling on Wednesday that the implementation rules for debit swipe fee reform established by the Federal Reserve were inconsistent with the intent of the law.

“From the very beginning, retailers and restaurants knew the Federal Reserve Board of Governors had grossly misapplied the swipe fee law, also known as the Durbin Amendment,” stated senior VP and general counsel Mallory Duncan. “They failed to heed Congress’ call to set fee standards that were ‘reasonable’ and ‘proportional’ to the actual cost of a transaction. Instead, the Board manufactured a standard that was two to three times higher than the Fed staff recommended.

“As a result, small ticket transactions, such as those imposed on convenience stores and restaurants, skyrocketed under the misapplied law.

“Congress clearly told the Fed to introduce competition and transparency into the debit card marketplace by making multiple networks available, so as to reduce swipe fees for merchants and their customers. The Fed failed to do so, and the court rightly ruled against them as a result. Today’s decision is the first step in setting these initial wrongs right and will ensure that swipe fee reform is done correctly.”

The National Retail Federation, Food Marketing Institute, National Association of Convenience Stores, Oil Miller Co. and Boscov’s Department Store LCC filed he initial complaint with the court.

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