Journalist, New York
Phil's Feed
Feb 21, 2014

Wal-Mart forecast disappoints as grocery business struggles

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – The struggles of the low-income U.S. consumer are playing out in Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) grocery aisles.

The world’s largest retailer, which gets more than half its sales from groceries, on Thursday gave a disappointing full-year forecast. It blamed sharp cuts in food stamp benefits and higher payroll taxes that are will hit disposable income for its core customers. Wal-Mart shares fell 2.2 percent in morning trading.

Feb 20, 2014

Avon bets Hispanics, smaller selection, price hikes can fix U.S. sales

NEW YORK/BOCA RATON, Fla (Reuters) – Avon Products Inc (AVP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) hopes higher prices, a growing Hispanic market and smaller selection of beauty products will help it reverse years of declines in U.S. sales, top executives said on Thursday.

The company’s North American sales have fallen by half since 2007, and last year, the size of its army of Avon Ladies sales representatives, shrank 15 percent.

Feb 20, 2014

Wal-Mart forecast disappoints, food-stamp cuts hurt customers

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc forecast a lower full-year profit than analysts expect, as fewer food stamps, higher taxes and tighter credit erode its sales, news that sent its shares down 1 percent in premarket trading on Thursday.

The world’s largest retailer expects net sales growth this year to be at the lower end of its forecast range of 3 to 5 percent, Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said on Thursday.

Feb 19, 2014

Kay Jewelers parent Signet to buy rival Zale for $690 million

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Signet Jewelers Ltd (SIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is buying smaller rival Zale Corp (ZLC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for about $690 million, an acquisition it said would strengthen its place in the U.S. jewelry sector and let it tap new markets.

The deal, announced on Wednesday, would combine the two largest U.S. mid-tier jewelry store chains, Zales and Signet’s Kay Jewelers. The price of $21 per share is a 41 percent premium over Zale’s close on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Feb 19, 2014

Signet to buy rival jeweler Zale For $690 million

Feb 19 (Reuters) – Signet Jewelers Ltd on Wednesday
said it would buy smaller rival Zale Corp for about $690
million in a deal that would strengthen its hold on the U.S.
specialty jewelry sector and let it tap new markets.

The deal, which would combine the two largest U.S. mid-tier
jewelry chains, Zales and Signet’s Kay Jewelers, is valued at
$21 per share. That is a premium of about 41 percent to Zale’s
close on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Feb 18, 2014

First U.S. bitcoin ATMs to open soon in Seattle, Austin

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Robocoin said on Tuesday that later this month it will install the first automated teller machines in the United States that let users buy and sell bitcoin, the latest step into the mainstream for the digital currency.

The kiosks, to be installed in Seattle, and Austin, Texas, are similar to ATMs but have scanners to read government-issued identification such as a driver’s license or a passport to confirm users’ identities.

Feb 15, 2014

U.S. speed skaters will ditch new Under Armour suits

By Dhanya Skariachan and Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – U.S. speed-skaters decided on Friday to drop new, specially designed Under Armour Inc suits that media reports have linked to a dismal showing at the Sochi Games, reverting to apparel worn during recent World Cup events.

U.S. Speedskating President Mike Plant said the team, which has yet to clinch a medal at Sochi, will switch back to skin suits also made by the U.S. company but worn prior to the Winter Olympics.

Feb 14, 2014

Under Armour says U.S. speed skaters want option to use earlier suits

By Dhanya Skariachan and Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – U.S. Speedskating has asked Olympic authorities to let its athletes use an earlier version of a suit made by Under Armour Inc, the sports apparel maker’s head of innovation told Reuters on Friday.

The move comes after a dismal start for the U.S. team at the Sochi Games, where it has yet to win a medal after six of 12 events.

Feb 13, 2014

Avon says bribery probe settlement could reach $132 million

By Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Avon Products Inc (AVP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday it may cost as much as $132 million to settle a U.S. bribery investigation into the beauty products company’s efforts to develop new markets overseas.

Avon cautioned there were no assurances it would reach a settlement and if it does, the company could not estimate its timing.

Feb 13, 2014

Whole Foods says competition cooling sales, shares tumble

By Lisa Baertlein and Phil Wahba

(Reuters) – Competition is cooling Whole Foods Market Inc’s (WFM.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) red-hot run, and the largest U.S. organic and natural food retailer stunned investors on Wednesday by cutting its 2014 sales forecast for the second time in three months.

Shares in the chain dropped 7.4 percent to $51.35 in extended trading.

Whole Foods has for years defied the U.S. consumer spending slowdown that has sent Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Kroger Co (KR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and other grocers scrambling to convince shoppers to spend more.

    • 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."
      Joined Reuters:
      2008
      Languages:
      English, French, Spanish, German and Danish.
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