Wal-Mart to close 10 Sam’s Clubs stores in US

Wal-Mart said Monday it will close 10 money-losing Sam’s Club stores and cut 1,500 jobs to reduce costs.

The stores will close Jan. 22. They are in Nampa, Idaho; La Quinta, Calif.; Louisville, Colo.; Vista, Calif.; Rolling Meadows, Ill.; Clay, N.Y.; and Irvine, Calif. The cities of Houston, Phoenix and Sacramento, Calif., will each lose one store.

“Despite the outstanding efforts of our associates, these clubs continued to lose money and we have decided to close them,” Sam’s Club CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement.

Cornell said the company is trying to find jobs at other Sam’s Club or Wal-Mart locations for workers who lost their jobs. Wal-Mart owns the Sam’s Club warehouse stores chain.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., says it plans to disclose the financial details of the closures when it announces its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 18. It does not anticipate any material adverse impact on fourth-quarter profit. [Read the full article]

Hopes that global manufacturing activity is heating up lifted industrial stocks Monday ahead of an earnings report from Alcoa Inc.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46 points, while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced for a sixth straight day. The Nasdaq composite index slipped.

After the closing bell, Alcoa posted revenue that topped expectations, but profits excluding one-time costs fell short of forecasts. The report from the nation’s largest aluminum producer gave traders one of the first looks at how companies fared in the final quarter of 2009.

The Alcoa numbers followed a report that China’s exports jumped 18 percent in December. The bigger-than-expected increase came after 13 straight months of declines and raised hopes that the world economy is strengthening. [Read the full article]

The economic slump appears to have taken a toll on Super Bowl ads, pushing the price down for only the second time in the game’s history, though they’re still the most expensive on television.

While early readings suggest there are better deals this year over last, Pepsi won’t advertise its drinks for the first time in 23 seasons, joining FedEx and GM, who dropped out last year. In their absence, newcomers and smaller companies have snatched up slots in advertising’s biggest showcase.

TNS Media Intelligence said Monday that a 30-second commercial during next month’s Super Bowl on CBS are selling for between $2.5 million and $2.8 million, based on reports from advertisers and media buyers. That’s a drop from last year, when ads averaged $3 million on NBC — a record, according to TNS. [Read the full article]

Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. cut its full-year guidance on Monday, as ongoing weakness in its game disc sales didn’t ease up over the holidays as the company had hoped.

EA, best known for such games as the “Madden” football series and “The Sims,” blamed weak sales in Europe as well as a shift toward titles it distributes for others, which have a lower profit margin than that for games it creates internally. Europe makes up roughly a third of the company’s sales.

But beyond that, many of EA’s packaged games — titles sold in stores such as GameStop and Best Buy — haven’t been selling too well, and its digital business, though growing, is still too small to make up for it.

For the fiscal year ending in March, EA lowered its adjusted profit outlook to between 40 cents and 55 cents per share. [Read the full article]

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