Report: Fresh & Easy to close 12 stores
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.
Kodak files patent infringement suits against Apple, HTC
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.
Supervalu sticks to strategy despite Q3 losses
MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu said it is sticking to its "8 Plays to Win" strategy, a multipronged plan designed to benefit the company and its customers, despite reporting several losses during the third quarter.
The supermarket retailer reported its net sales during the third quarter of fiscal 2012 dropped about 5% to $8.3 billion, compared with nearly $8.7 billion in the year-ago period, and also posted a net loss of $750 million, or $3.54 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $202 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2011.
Third-quarter retail food net sales also took a hit, dropping to $6.3 billion from $6.6 billion last year. The drop was influenced by same-store sales of -2.9% and previously announced market exits. Along with store closures, market exits also impacted Supervalu’s total retail footage, which decreased 1.5% to 63.6 million sq. ft.
Supervalu president and CEO Craig Herkert attributed the struggles to the "difficult economic environment and pressured consumer," but noted the company will continue to move forward with its 8 Plays to Win strategy, which includes such initiatives as simplifying operations and logistics to make it easier for Supervalu to operate as one company; improving the shopper experience through more-consistent value pricing; a focus on fresh, localized merchandising and hassle-free shopping; and committing to the growth of the Save-A-Lot banner and the number of independents utilizing Supervalu’s supply chain services.
"Even with [these issues], we continued to make progress against our plan, allowing us to invest in price to deliver everyday value and hyper local choices that meet the needs of our customers in the diverse neighborhoods we serve," Herkert said.
Supervalu’s full-year earnings guidance now is a loss of $2.58 to $2.48 per diluted share on a GAAP basis. Excluding the goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges recorded in the third quarter, full-year earnings guidance is $1.20 to $1.30 per diluted share, in line with the company’s previous GAAP guidance.