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BUSINESS
March 6, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
Office supply giant Staples Inc. is planning to close as many as 225 North American stores while slashing annualized costs by up to $500 million by the end of 2015. The Framingham, Mass., company, which has been pressured by online competitors such as Amazon.com and is threatened by the merging of Office Depot and Office Max, also said Thursday that sales for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 1 slumped 10.6% to $5.9 billion. The retailer projected that its first-quarter sales would also slide year over year, marking the fifth straight drop for the measure.
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BUSINESS
March 5, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
Target Corp.'s head of technology stepped down Wednesday as the company tries to recover from one of the largest data breaches on record at a retailer. Beth Jacob, who served as executive vice president of technology services and chief information officer for Target since 2008, resigned both posts, Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement. "While we are still in the process of an ongoing investigation, we recognize that the information security environment is evolving rapidly," he said.
BUSINESS
March 4, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
RadioShack Corp., the struggling electronics retailer, on Tuesday said it might close 1,100 stores - about a fifth of all its outlets - after it reported its eighth straight quarterly loss. The Forth Worth company said it had a net loss of $191.4 million for the fourth quarter - more than triple what it lost a year earlier. Its fourth-quarter revenue slumped 20% to $935.4 million. Like many bricks-and-mortar retailers, RadioShack is struggling to reverse declining foot traffic to its stores and fend off competition from other retailers, including Amazon.com.
NEWS
March 3, 2014 | By David A. Keeps
New York interior designer Celerie Kemble felt right at home at the recent opening party for Designers House at HD Buttercup in L.A.'s historic Helms Bakery building. “Here the designer gets to put together the things we've labored for years to create,” said Kemble, who selected furniture and accessories from her Henredon and Maitland Smith collections to decorate her signature space. “This is how I would put together a room for myself or one of my clients.” Designers House launched simultaneously as a Los Angeles retail space and as a website selling high-end, limited-quantity home furnishings from well-known interior designers.
BUSINESS
February 28, 2014 | By James Barragán
Tia Smith clutched her new phone in one hand and a phone case in the other as she shopped at a West Hollywood Best Buy. She clicked away into her smartphone's tiny screen and searched for the case in other nearby stores. "I'm trying to buy this Otter phone case for my new phone," she said. "But I'm trying to see if Target or Wal-Mart has it for cheaper so they can honor the price match," she said, as she scrolled through Target's mobile site on her new phone. As more people turn to their smartphones and tablets when they're thinking about making a purchase, retailers and marketing companies are rushing to figure out ways to transform these mobile browsers into buyers.
BUSINESS
February 27, 2014 | By Roger Vincent
It's been generations since a high-rise building had its debut on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, but the skyline is finally in for a dramatic change. A local developer hopes to transform a homely corner of the city's famed commercial corridor early next year by leveling a drab one-story retail center at 4th Street and Broadway. In its place would be a 34-story apartment skyscraper more than twice as tall as most other buildings in the historic core of downtown L.A. To be built at a cost of nearly $150 million, the apartment and retail complex called Broadway @ 4th would house 450 units and fill in a key block in gentrifying downtown L.A., developer Izek Shomof said.
BUSINESS
February 25, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced plans Tuesday to cut 8,000 positions, more than previously forecast, as fewer Americans refinance their mortgages because of rising interest rates. The cuts will hit its mortgage and retail banking businesses, according to a Tuesday presentation, reports said .  QUIZ: How much do you know about Bitcoin? JPMorgan, the country's largest bank, also increased its target for annual net income to $27 billion. That would be a significant improvement from last year's $18-billion net income, which took a hit because of legal costs associated with regulatory enforcement actions.
BUSINESS
February 18, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Personal information collected from credit card shoppers would be better protected by upgrading the country's entire payment system to technology that has dramatically reduced fraud in Europe. That was the consensus of a group of retailers, bankers, credit card companies and consumer advocates at a legislative hearing Tuesday. Legislators delved into the causes of a recent hacking of about 70 million computerized customer records at Target Corp. and a smaller incident involving about 1.1 million customers at Neiman Marcus department stores.
BUSINESS
February 13, 2014 | By Don Lee and Tiffany Hsu
The winter economic blues continue. Retail sales unexpectedly fell 0.4% in January from December, the government said Thursday. That was the biggest drop in 18 months and the latest in a series of blah reports on the economy. Sales were “weaker than already low expectations” for flat results, the softness “punctuated by hefty downward revisions to December,” according to Credit Suisse. The bank's analysts said in a note to clients that “at first blush these data appear to be impacted by the frigid weather across the country” and that “February does not offer much hope for relief.” Volatile temperatures may prevent the industry from getting “a clean read on retail demand for quite some time,” according to Credit Suisse.
BUSINESS
February 13, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
This year's streak of nasty weather is wreaking havoc on the economy, causing plunging worker productivity, soaring heating bills, canceled flights, damaged crops and frozen hiring. But the bitter conditions, which last month left thousands stranded in Atlanta and this week is pounding the eastern part of the country with snow, have dealt a particularly severe blow to retailers. The tempests couldn't have come at a worse time. In January, as businesses struggled through a weak post-holiday period in a month that already tends to be slow, industry sales slid by their largest margin in 18 months.
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