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Mar 25, 2014

Fewer new generic drugs dent Walgreen profit

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Walgreen Co (WAG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Tuesday reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as a slowdown in the introduction of higher-profit generic medicines and a milder flu season cut into its gross profit margin.

The operator of the largest U.S. drugstore chain said its profit also come under pressure from price cuts implemented to compete with rivals during a tough holiday season for retailers.

Mar 21, 2014

Nordstrom delaying Rack store openings in Canada until 2017

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Nordstrom Inc JWN.N is postponing the opening of its discount Rack stores in Canada until 2017, to focus on the launch of its full-line department stores there, its first department stores abroad. The Seattle-based upscale retailer had initially planned to start opening Rack stores in Canada next year. But Nordstrom said on Friday it has its hands full preparing to open six Canadian department stores, starting with a location in Calgary this autumn, and with a five-year, $1 billion technology upgrade. “Given everything on our plate in both the U.S. and Canada and the complexity of it, we thought, let’s work on getting the (Canadian) full-line stores up and running to the best of our ability first,” Nordstrom spokeswoman Brooke White told Reuters. Nordstrom said altering its computer systems and distribution for its first international expansion was proving to be more complex than expected, despite the similarities between the U.S. and Canadian markets. The change in plans for Nordstrom comes soon after discount retailer Target Corp TGT.N reported a nearly $1 billion (U.S.) operating loss in Canada for 2013, with more losses forecast this year after a bungled entry there. Rack stores, which offer lower-priced designer merchandise made specifically for the chain as well as clearance items from the Nordstrom stores, have been key to Nordstrom’s results. Comparable sales at Rack rose 2.7 percent last year, compared with a 2.1 percent decrease at the full-line stores. Nordstrom estimates there is room for as many as 20 Rack stores in Canada and 10 full-line department stores. Nordstrom will face competition from fellow U.S. luxury chain Saks Fifth Avenue, which will open a store in downtown Toronto next year. Saks is part of Hudson’s Bay Co HBC.TO. The news of the Rack store delays was first reported by the Globe and Mail.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Mar 21, 2014

Tiffany gives cautious 2014 forecast

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Tiffany & Co (TIF.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) struck a cautious note on Friday about 2014, giving a profit forecast that was below estimates despite its projection that net worldwide sales would rise by a high-single digit percentage this year.

The company, which has bet its growth on emerging markets such as China and Russia, is likely being conservative because of growing economic and political uncertainty in some markets, and still sluggish growth of its less expensive silver jewelry in the United States, analysts said.

Mar 20, 2014

Nike futures orders soar ahead of World Cup

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Nike Inc (NKE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Thursday said that global orders for its merchandise soared heading into the World Cup soccer championship in Brazil this summer, sending shares up nearly 2 percent.

The maker of sports gear also reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by rising sales in China and an enormous jump in revenue in Western Europe, where it competes with Adidas AG (ADSGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Mar 19, 2014

Icahn calls on eBay to sell 20 percent of PayPal in an IPO

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Activist investor Carl Icahn on Wednesday called on eBay Inc to sell 20 percent of its PayPal payments unit in an initial public offering, in his latest missive to shareholders.

Icahn in January called for eBay to hive off its fast growing PayPal business, arguing the unit is undervalued as part of eBay. EBay did not respond to a request for comment, but the company has repeatedly said both businesses are better off together.

Mar 17, 2014

U.S. attorneys general urge retailers to drop tobacco

March 17 (Reuters) – A group of 28 U.S. attorneys general
has urged Walmart and four other big retailers to stop selling
tobacco products, saying they should not be available in stores
that provide health care services.

The group sent a letter on Sunday to chief executive
officers of Wal-Mart Stores Inc, supermarket operators
Kroger Co, Safeway Inc, which operate pharmacies,
and drugstore chains Walgreen Co and Rite Aid Corp.

Mar 14, 2014

Target warns data breach could be worse than reported so far

BOSTON/NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) – Target Corp
warned that last year’s massive security breach could have been
more extensive than reported so far, leading to further losses
at the No. 3 U.S. retailer.

“Our investigation of the matter is ongoing and it is
possible that we will identify additional information that was
accessed or stolen, which could materially worsen the losses and
reputational damage we have experienced,” the company said in
its 10-K annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission on Friday.

Mar 14, 2014

Target says unsure how long sales impact of data breach will last

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Target Corp (TGT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Friday acknowledged that a massive data breach last year has damaged its reputation and business, and said that it does not yet know how long the fallout will last.

Some 40 million payment card records were stolen from the discount retailer, along with 70 million other records with customer information such as addresses and telephone numbers, during the 2013 holiday shopping season.

Mar 14, 2014

Starbucks gives up exclusive license to high-end Keurig pods

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will get a wider selection of Keurig Green Mountain Inc’s (GMCR.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) single-serve K-Cup coffee packs, in exchange for giving up the exclusive license for Keurig’s highest-end coffee pods, the companies said on Friday.

Keurig Green Mountain shares rose 8 percent on Friday to $114.71 on speculation changes to the agreement will open the door for it to secure licenses with other leading coffee brands with which it does not already have such arrangements.

Mar 14, 2014

Amazon plans Prime fee hike by $20, risks consumer wrath

By Phil Wahba and Deepa Seetharaman

(Reuters) – Inc plans to hike the annual fee for its popular Prime service by 25 percent to $99 starting next week, a move announced on Thursday that risks losing customers for a feature that has helped drive its business.

The increase comes about six weeks after Amazon warned that it may raise prices by as much as $40 to offset rising fuel and shipping costs. Prime, which offers unlimited two-day shipping among other perks, had cost $79 since its introduction in 2005.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Wahba joined Reuters in 2008 and has covered the exchanges, equity capital markets (IPOs), corporate bankruptcies and now covers retailers such as department stores and booksellers."
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