OPERATIONS

Young America and 3Seventy form alliance to develop mobile marketing capabilities

BY CSA STAFF

Eden, Minn. — Young America, an engagement marketing, loyalty and incentive firm, and 3Seventy, a mobile engagement solutions company, have formed a strategic alliance to jointly develop new mobile marketing capabilities and enhance delivery of mobile-based engagement marketing and loyalty services to their client base.

“As mobile technologies have become more interactive and ubiquitous among consumers, they have become an essential element to any successful engagement marketing campaign,” said Tim Crank, senior VP marketing, Young America. “Our partnership with 3Seventy will enable us to instantly engage consumers whether it’s for sweepstakes, rebates, loyalty programs, delivery of coupons or product samples.”

A 2010 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 40% percent of U.S. adults use the Internet, email or instant messaging on a mobile phone (up from the 32% in 2009) and that text message use increased among all cell phone users from 65% in 2009 to 72% last year. However, according to recent reports, retailers report that mobile-based purchases account for only about 2% of sales.

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FINANCE

Liberty Media makes $1 billion bid for Barnes & Noble

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Liberty Media Corp. has offered to buy Barnes & Noble in a deal valued at about $1 billion, which represents a 20% premium over the bookseller’s market value Thursday. Barnes & Noble said Thursday that the cash offer, which the Wall Street Journal called a “stunner,” is worth $17 a share.

The companies have yet to sign an agreement.

Liberty Media, based in Englewood, Colo., runs three publicly traded companies — Liberty Interactive, Liberty Starz Group and Liberty Capital Group — through which it runs home-shopping network QVC and movie channel operator Starz LLC and holds stakes in numerous other online, media and communications companies.

The offer from Liberty Media came with the condition that Barnes & Noble’s founding chairman Leonard Riggio stay with the company and continue owning its stock.

Ann Taylor tops estimates, raises view
New York City — Ann Inc., the operator of Ann Taylor and Loft stores, posted a 21% increase in its fiscal-first-quarter earnings and raised its full-year sales estimate.

For the quarter ended April 30, Ann reported a profit of $27.3 million, up from $22.62 million in the prior-year quarter.

Sales rose almost 10% to $523.6 million, but margins slipped to 57.3%, against 59% last year. Same-store sales rose 7.8%.

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News

Gap Inc. earnings suffer on higher cost of goods

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO — The rising cost of goods and a challenging economic environment took its toll on Gap Inc.’s first-quarter sales and earnings.Gap Inc. reported that net income for the firstquarter decreased 23% to $233 million compared with $302 million forthe first quarter last year. First quarter diluted earnings per share was 40 cents.

The company reported that net sales decreased 1% to $3.30 billion.Comparable sales, which includes associatedcomparable online sales, decreased 3%. The 3% comparable-store sales decline included a 3% decrease at Gap North America, a 1% decrease atBanana Republic North America, and a 2% decrease atOld Navy North America.

Because of the rising costs of goods Gap Inc. has revised its full year guidance. The company said it nowexpects product costs per unit to be up about20% in the back half of the year, which will more than outweigh retail price increases. The company has revised guidance for fiscal year 2011 diluted earnings per share to be in the range of$1.40 to $1.50.

“While we acknowledge that costing pressure is impacting our business, we’re working hard to navigatethis short-term macro challenge to our profitability in the current fiscal year,” said Glenn Murphy, chairmanand CEO of Gap Inc. “That said, our strategy remains the same – to deliver consistent,steady growth in North America while investing in our long-term global initiatives, especially in online andinternational.”

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