By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York — Sears is planning to drop its 95-year listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), moving over to the Nasdaq Stock Market, once the merger with Kmart is complete. Sears, which has enjoyed the “elite” single-letter listing of “S” since it became listed on the Big Board in 1910, will continue to trade on the NYSE until the merger is complete, probably this spring. Sears will change its listing name to the combined company’s Sears Holdings. Because Kmart Holdings is the acquiring company, and Kmart is listed on the Nasdaq, Sears application for listing was expected, according to the NYSE.
Mooresville, N.C. — Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. said its board of directors has approved a share repurchase program of up to $1 billion, effective immediately. The program is set up to be implemented through purchases made from time to time in either the open market or through private transactions. As of last October, Lowe’s had 772 million shares outstanding. “Following our $1 billion share repurchase in 2004, this additional authorization from the board is an indication of the financial strength of Lowe’s and, with ongoing dividend payments, allows us to enhance the overall return to shareholders,” said Robert Niblock, chairman/CEO.
Atlanta — Rayovac is planning to change its corporate name to Spectrum Brands, assuming shareholder approval in April. The new name would better reflect its expanding product portfolio, which includes batteries, shaving and grooming, lawn and garden, household insect control, and pet supplies, among others. The new name would better reflect the company’s growth strategy of expanding its line-up of “world-class” consumer product brands in a broad array of growth categories. The company, based here, said Spectrum Brands “more clearly describes who we are today and our commitment to new brands going forward.”
Santa Cruz, Calif. — Headset maker Plantronics has completed purchases under its former stock repurchase program and has authorized a new 1-million-share program. The company said it continues to generate positive cash flow, and believes it is prudent to use a portion of this cash to increase shareholder value through the repurchase of its stock. The Plantronics’ board believes the stock presents an attractive investment for the company and its stockholders.
Tokyo — D&M Holdings — which owns the Denon, Marantz, ReplayTV, Rio and Escient brands for the home theater, A/V consumer electronics and networked digital entertainment markets — has lowered its sales and profit expectations for its fiscal year, ending March 31. The company cites considerably slower premium A/V business in North America in January, due to poor market conditions in all product groups, compounded by bad weather conditions in the northeastern part of the United States that curtailed foot traffic in many retail stores. In addition, D&M said the custom installation market saw a decrease in sales of video display products, triggering a reduction in related high-end audio sales.
Seoul, South Korea — Although Samsung Electronics reported a clouded outlook for its key businesses in the upcoming months, stating the “world economy faces slower growth this year,” the LCD maker still said it expects mobile phone profit margins to bounce back during the first quarter, with flat-screen pricing moving up possibly by the second quarter.
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.