By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Winston-Salem, N.C. — The Nationwide Marketing group plans to offer its dealer members an online platform to buy, sell and trade excess and unwanted inventory.
The program, provided by Harrisburg, Pa.-based Invenshare.com, allows dealers to easily add inventory to the system and conversely search for items by manufacturer, category or model number.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.
Minneapolis — Fallout from Target’s credit card data breach in December impacted its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results.
Net earnings fell 46 percent to $520 million for the three months, ended Feb. 1, while U.S. sales slipped 3.8 percent to $21.5 billion and domestic comps declined 2.5 percent.
Mooresville, N.C. — Lowe’s said solid performance in core categories and a nimble distribution network contributed to sales and earnings increases in the fourth quarter.
For the three months, ended Jan. 31, net earnings rose 6.3 percent to $306 million, including a $32 million asset impairment hit. Net sales increased 5.6 percent to $11.7 billion and comp sales edged up 3.9 percent.
For the full fiscal year, profits increased 16.7 percent to $2.3 billion while net sales rose 5.7 percent to $53.4 billion and comps increased 4.8 percent.
San Diego — Sony Electronics is restructuring “to maintain its competitiveness in an evolving consumer electronics market” in the U.S., and as part of the effort it will shut 20 of its stores.
Sony Electronics confirmed in a statement a total staff reduction of one-third by the end of the calendar year, affecting approximately 1,000 employees across all sites. “In addition, in an effort to further streamline costs and continue focus on existing partner relations, Sony announced the closure of 20 U.S. Sony Stores,” the company said.
Atlanta — The Home Depot reported flat fourth-quarter earnings on a slight sales decline.
Profits remained essentially static at $1 billion for the three months, ended Feb. 2, a 0.8 percent dip, while net sales slipped 3 percent to $17.7 billion. Comp-store sales for the period rose 4.4 percent chain-wide and 4.9 percent in the U.S.
Total customer transactions fell 4 percent during the period although average ticket edged up 1.1 percent.
Boca Raton, Fla. — Office Depot reported higher sales but a net loss for its fourth quarter and full-year results, ended Dec. 28, 2013, the first report after its merger with OfficeMax last November.
Reported (GAAP) results include total sales for the fourth quarter increasing 33 percent to $3.5 billion compared with the fourth quarter of 2012. Sales were $11.2 billion in the full-year 2013, an increase of 5 percent compared with the prior year.
North Andover, Mass. — The Mobile Electronics Retailers Association (MERA) has acquired In Car Experts (ICE), an industry group that provides marketing services and support to its members.
The two first teamed together in January, and MERA president Chris Cook said the partnership had “evolved into the announcement we’re making today.”
ICE founder Rob Elliott will join the MERA board of directors. Cook said no changes are expected for ICE members and vendor partners, although they do become immediate MERA members as a condition of the acquisition.
The Woodlands, Texas — A remarkable fourth-quarter retail performance could not offset a sharp increase in late customer payments at Conn’s, forcing the chain to lower its earnings outlook.
The preliminary results, announced this morning, drove the company’s shares down by the double digits in pre-market trading.
Net retail sales for the fiscal fourth quarter, ended Jan. 31, rose 45 percent to $301.6 million and same-store sales soared 33.4 percent, while retail gross margin increased by more than 300 basis points to 40 percent year over year.
Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores reported higher net sales but lower net income in its fourth quarter and fiscal year, ended Jan. 31.
Net sales for the fourth quarter were $128.8 billion, an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. This quarter included the negative impact of approximately $1.8 billion from currency exchange rate fluctuations. On a constant currency basis, net sales would have increased 2.8 percent to $130.6 billion. Membership and other income for the fourth quarter increased 12.7 percent vs. last year.