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IBM: Mobile shopping doubles over holiday

BY Katherine Field Boccaccio

ARMONK, N.Y. — On Tuesday, IBM released its final benchmark announcement for the 2011 holiday season, detailing a continued strong performance for mobile, as well as an overall increase in online spending for December 2011.

According to the report, the U.S. online retail sector delivered 7.5% growth in December 2011, compared with the same period last year. This followed a strong November where both Black Friday 2011 and Cyber Monday 2011 delivered double-digit growth over 2010.

Other key findings of the IBM report included:

  • Mobile traffic experienced significant growth, as 14.6% of all online sessions on a retailer’s site were initiated from a mobile device, more than double the rate of 5.6% over this same period in 2010;

  • Sales from mobile devices doubled, reaching 11% versus 5.5% in December 2010;

  • Apple’s iPhone and iPad ranked No. 1 and No. 2 for mobile device retail traffic (5.2% and 4.3% respectively). Android was third at 4.1%; and

  • Shoppers using the iPad also continued to drive more retail purchases than any other device with conversion rates reaching 6.3% compared witho 3.1% for all mobile devices.

"This past December consumers remained committed to finding the best online deals whether through their PC or mobile device,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer for IBM Smarter Commerce.

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Report: Fresh & Easy to close 12 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

NEW YORK — Fresh & Easy is slated to close 12 underperforming stores.

The U.S. division of Tesco left open the door to reopening the stores at a later date, according to Orange County Register.

"At this time, there is simply not enough growth in sales and customers at these stores to keep them open. We will close these stores over the coming weeks and we will re-open them when economic and business conditions warrant," said Fresh & Easy spokesman Brendan Wonnacott in the report.

Fresh & Easy still is planning to grow in areas where it makes sense, according to Wonnacott. The chain plans to open at least 24 more supermarkets on the West Coast, including four in Orange County.

Of the 12 Fresh & Easy stores to be shuttered, nine are in Southern California.

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Kodak files patent infringement suits against Apple, HTC

BY Allison Cerra

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — After announcing that it has set its sights on transforming into a digital company, Kodak has filed patent infringement suits against Apple and HTC in an effort to protect some of its patents relating to digital imaging technology.

In a complaint filed with the International Trade Commission, Kodak said that Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods, along with HTC smartphones and tablets "infringe Kodak patents that relate to technology for transmitting images." The company also said that HTC smartphones infringe a Kodak patent that pertains to technology related to a method for previewing images, which already is the subject of pending actions against Apple.

Kodak filed separate suits against Apple and HTC in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York alleging the same infringement. The U.S. patents involved include Nos. 7,210,161; 7,742,084; 7,453,605 and 7,936,391.

"As we have stated before, Kodak is the leader in digital imaging innovation and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating our pioneering patent portfolio," said Laura Quatela, Kodak’s newly appointed president and COO. "We’ve had numerous discussions with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement.

"Our primary interest is not to disrupt the availability of any product but to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorized use of our technology," Quatela said. "There’s a basic issue of fairness that needs to be addressed. The failure of companies to appropriately compensate Kodak for the unauthorized use of our patented technology impedes our ability to continue to innovate and introduce new products."

Kodak has licensed patents related to digital imaging technology to more than 30 companies, including LG, Motorola, Samsung and Nokia, all of which are royalty bearing to Kodak.

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