San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Orlando, Fla. – There is optimism and opportunity in a changing marketplace for independents, which were the themes of Tuesday morning’s keynote at the BrandSource convention by the group’s CEO, Bob Lawrence.
He told his members attending the conference, here, this week, that for them the market is “a good news, bad news, better news story.”
What he meant by that is that “the healthiest retail channel is independents. We’ve been here, going to be here and is the most stable channel out there.”
Naperville, Ill. – Office Depot and OfficeMax have agreed to merge.
Pending stockholder and regulatory approval, the No. 2 and 3 office-supply chains will combine by the end of the year into a new, $18 billion entity that is better able to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace, the companies said.
Bentonville, Ark. — Higher payroll taxes, delayed income tax refunds and the sluggish economy are taking a toll on Walmart’s sales.
According to internal emails and minutes of an officer’s meeting obtained by Bloomberg, sales were disappointing in January and February, although the company continues to gain market share.
Minneapolis — Best Buy’s holiday policy of matching online and local competitors’ prices will be made permanent.
The holiday offer, which informally continued into the new year as the retailer wrestled with its pricing strategy, will be extended indefinitely under Best Buy’s new “low price guarantee” policy, which officially goes into effect March 3.
Like its predecessor, the new policy covers more than a dozen major e-commerce sites and most CE and appliance products.
New York — Office Depot and OfficeMax, the No. 2 and 3 office-supply chains, are far along in merger talks and may announce a deal this week, according to published reports.
A merger, long urged by analysts, could create a stronger challenger to channel leader Staples, although all three chains have lost ground to online and discount competitors like Costco and Walmart.
Washington — Industry trade associations lauded congressional sponsors of an online sales tax measure that was re-introduced in the House and Senate today.
The bipartisan Marketplace Fairness Act would create a single, simplified platform for collecting state-level sales tax from online-only retailers. The bill would also provide e-tailers with free tax collection software, and exempt casual sellers and small start-ups.
Minneapolis — Dick Schulze has been unable to muster enough support from banks to finance a buyout of Best Buy, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Facing a Feb. 28 deadline to submit a formal acquisition proposal, the chain’s founder and former chairman may instead seek investors to take a minority stake in the business, unnamed sources told the newspaper.
Marion, Ind. — The Cellular Connection, the 28-state wireless specialty chain that exclusively sells Verizon Wireless service, has redesigned its flagship store in Indianapolis and will roll out the design to its other locations.
The chain, which operates more than 800 stores, is the largest Verizon-exclusive wireless retailer by store count in the U.S., the company said.
Washington — Sales at CE and appliance stores rose 1.3 percent in January to an estimated $8.4 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported.
In contrast, sales edged up just 0.2 percent from December, the agency said.
The increase may reflect the impact of last month’s Super Bowl, which was the third-largest sales period for TVs in 2012, according to The NPD Group.
Wayne, N.J. — Gerald Storch is stepping down as CEO of Toys“R”Us, but will remain chairman of the No. 1 toy chain.
Storch has held both posts since joining the company in 2006. He will continue as CEO while a search is conducted for his successor.
“Jerry has done an exceptional job in rebuilding the company, while successfully leading it through an extremely difficult global economic environment,” the company’s board said in a statement.