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Warner Home Video releases ‘Any Given Sunday’ on Blu-Ray

BY Mike Duff

BURBANK, Calif. The Oliver Stone-directed “Any Given Sunday” director’s cut makes its Blu-Ray High-definition debut Jan. 27, with the Warner Home Video release timing set to coincide with the Super Bowl. Starring Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, James Woods, Ann-Margret, Dick Butkus, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor and Charlton Heston, the director’s cut includes commentary by Stone and Foxx, HBO’s “Making Of ‘Any Given Sunday’ First Look,” a gag reel and 14 deleted or extended scenes, along with a Jamie Foxx audition tape.

Suggested retail price is $28.99, and order due date is Dec. 23.

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Survey says consumers plan to reduce spending this holiday

BY Melissa Valliant

NEW YORK This season consumers are watching their wallet, shopping carefully and spending less than 10 years ago, according to a new survey by global business advisory firm AlixPartners.

AlixPartners Holiday 2008 Consumer Sentiment Index surveyed 1,000 consumers for their opinions on the economy and their plans for holiday shopping.

Forty-six percent of consumers did not foresee the tightening economy improving for at least three years. A majority—64 percent—of U.S. consumers anticipate spending less on gifts by: spending less on each individual gift (66 percent), “waiting for sales and specials” (60 percent), buying less expensive gifts (52 percent) and shopping at mass-discount stores (33 percent), with Wal-Mart and Target ranking high on the list of most chosen stores among the multiple-choice options.

“Consumers are going to be trading down in terms of which products they buy, in terms of how many products they buy, in terms of the brands they buy and in terms of the types of stores they shop in,” said Matthew Katz, head of AlixPartners’ Retail Performance Improvement Praactice and a managing director with the firm. “Department stores and specialty retailers, we believe, will be particularly hard hit; but no retailer is immune from this tidal wave that looks to be coming as an aftershock to the Wall Street crisis.”

Most U.S. consumers surveyed (87 percent), said that they believe the nation is in the midst of a recession or depression, with 20 percent stating depression.

And 74 percent report not trusting in the government’s ability to make drastic and efficient changes. Eight-six percent expect to spend less than $1,000 on gifts this holiday, 77 percent expect to spend less than last year and 37 expect to spend less than $250.

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Winn-Dixie announces new marketing leadership; results for Q1 2009

BY Jenna Duncan

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Winn-Dixie Stores has named Mary Kellmanson to head of its marketing department and reported its earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2009, the company today announced.

Kellmanson’s daily duties will cover overseeing business and strategic operations for the Winn-Dixie advertising, communications and marketing departments. She will report to Dan Portnoy, chief merchandising and marketing officer.

Kellmanson formerly served Winn-Dixie as vice president of marketing. She came to Winn-Dixie’s management team after working for about 15 years at Wegmans Food Markets as vice president of advertising and marketing. At Wegman’s, she oversaw branding, loyalty card operations, market research, new store openings and on-line and co-op programs.

“[Kellmanson]’s strong marketing background will serve our Company well as we continue focusing our efforts on providing a fresh and local shopping experience to our customers every day,” Portnoy said. “Her passion for the retail industry, coupled with her energy and leadership will drive us to delivering our promise of getting better all the time.”

Winn-Dixie has also announced its earnings for the first quarter of 2009.

The company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization totaled $27 million, reflecting a 38.5 percent increase, or an increase of $7.5 million from $19.5 million in the first quarter 2008. Winn-Dixie estimated $2.7 million in earnings due to Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, exceeding predicted storm-related losses.

However, Winn-Dixie did report a net loss of $2.3 million, ($0.04 per diluted share), compared to a net loss of $0.8 million ($0.01 per diluted share), in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Same store sales saw an increase of 3 percent.

“We are very pleased with our financial results for the quarter,” Winn-Dixie chairman, chief excutice officer and president, Peter Lynch, said. “We improved adjusted EBITDA while also delivering solid sales growth. We also benefited from increased sales both before and after the storms that affected many of our communities in Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and along the Gulf Coast. Our associates put forth a great team effort that enabled us to re-open stores quickly to better serve our customers.”

Net sales for the first quarter 2009 were reported at $1.7 billion, up or 3.4 percent or $55 million compared to the same quarter 2008.

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