By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has unconditionally cleared the merger of OfficeMax and Office Depot allowing the two chains to complete the transaction on Nov. 5.
When completed, the deal will create a combined company with revenues of about $17 billion and more than 1,700 storefronts. The merger’s financial details were not disclosed, but the two superstore chains reported that additional details surrounding how the newly formed company will function will be released when the merger is finalized next week.
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.
Seattle – Amazon.com will begin collecting sales tax today on items purchased by residents in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
Separately, the e-tailer has begun donating a percentage of all qualified purchases to charity groups under a new AmazonSmile program.
The three latest additions bring to 15 the number of states that have hammered out sales tax collection deals with Amazon, often in exchange for temporary tax amnesty and other incentives to open distribution centers within their borders.
Naperville, Ill. — OfficeMax plans to open its doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, when it will launch the first of three rounds of sales events.
The No. 3 office-supply chain said the decision to open on the national holiday is “consistent with many retailers,” and that 35 million shoppers visited stores on Thanksgiving Day last year.
Indianapolis — h.h.gregg said a precipitous drop in its TV business, and reduced revenue from mobile phones and notebook computers, led to sales and earnings declines in its fiscal second quarter.
Net income slipped 2 percent to $3.7 million for the three months, ended Sept. 30, while net sales decreased 3.3 percent to $568.3 million.
Comp-store sales fell 6.2 percent on a double-digit comp sales decline in TV caused by a strategic decision to offer fewer opening price point models, while computer and wireless comps fell 7.2 percent year over year.
Fort Worth, Texas — RadioShack opened three new concept stores this week, including one near corporate headquarters here yesterday that drew local dignitaries and past generations of company management to the ribbon cutting.
The other openings, in Detroit and Philadelphia, join eight other “high-touch” stores in New York, New Jersey, Boston and Fort Worth that were redesigned from the ground up with interactive demos, touchscreen displays, and more intuitive floor plans to enhance the shopping experience.
Port Washington, N.Y. — Systemax reported a net loss on lower net sales in its third quarter, ended Sept. 20.
The net loss was $11.6 million in the quarter, compared with a net profit of $14 million in last year’s third quarter.
Consolidated sales decreased 6.5 percent to $791.8 million in U.S. dollars. On a constant currency basis, sales decreased 6.8 percent compared with last year.
Consumer channel sales declined 17.5 percent to $263.5 million in U.S. dollars. On a same-store and constant currency basis, sales declined 15.6 percent.
Barrington, Ill. — The Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) presented its 2013 HTSA Vendor Awards to those who have demonstrated commitment to member growth through the development of cutting-edge products and technologies, exemplary business practices, and unyielding service and support for HTSA members.
Washington — The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent in September.
This increase translated into a 3.8 percent increase year over year. The NRF figures do not include automobiles, gas stations and restaurants. Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 0.7 percent when seasonally adjusted month to month, and 1.8 percent unadjusted year over year.
The federal government’s statistics for September, which do include those retailers, indicated a slight decrease in retail sales.
Minneapolis — Best Buy began airing a series of comic holiday commercials during last night’s broadcast of the World Series that touts the benefits of its brick-and-mortar stores.
The spots, featuring actors Will Arnett, LL Cool J, Maya Rudolph and Jason Schwartzman, highlight the chain’s multichannel capabilities and the advantages of its physical stores.
Chicago — With a shorter holiday shopping season, ShopperTrak, the provider of shopper analytics, predicted that four of the 10 busiest shopping days will occur between Dec. 20 and Dec. 24.
Retailers should expect to see more shoppers making last-minute purchases this holiday season, and ShopperTrak advised retailers to prepare accordingly.