Wal-Mart adjusts plans
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, yesterday said it has revised a planned overhaul of its China-based management after intervention by government-run trade unions. On April 10, US-based Wal-Mart said it needed to slash mid-level executives in an effort to adapt to “the changeable market situation.” However, the US retail giant seems to have softened its position after negotiating with employees, trade unions and local governments following a wave of staff complaints in domestic media reports.
Amazon sales jump 18%
Amazon.com posted an 18 percent boost in sales and a 24 percent rise in profits as the online retail giant shrugged off the effects of the economic downturn. The Seattle-based retailer said that it earned US$177 million in the first quarter, compared to US$143 million a year ago. Sales were up to US$4.89 billion compared with US$4.13 billion a year ago. The company said the strongest boost to its earnings came from sales of its new electronic book reader, the Kindle.
AmEx net profit down 56%
US finance firm American Express said on Thursday it would make further cost-cutting moves following a sharp drop in quarterly earnings. “We continue to be very cautious about the economic outlook and plan to initiate additional reengineering efforts in the second quarter to help further reduce our operating costs,” said Kenneth Chenault, chairman and chief executive. Amex said net profit in the first quarter fell 56 percent from a year ago to US$443, or US$0.31 per share, amid rising write-offs of credit card debt.
Obama calls for fairness
US President Barack Obama urged US credit card company executives on Thursday to stop unfair rate increases and be more transparent and accountable, tapping into popular outrage over abusive lending. Obama said after a White House meeting with 13 credit card executives that he wanted new legislation being considered by the US Congress to protect consumers against unfair rate increases and ban “abusive fees and penalties.”
Nomura posts record loss
Japan’s largest brokerage house, Nomura Holdings Inc, incurred a record net loss for the last fiscal year that ended on March 31, the firm said yesterday. The record loss amounted to ¥709.44 billion (US$7.24 billion) after the firm was hit hard by the global financial turmoil and the burden of taking over part of the Lehman Brothers in September last year. Nomura also posted a net loss of ¥67.85 billion in fiscal 2007.
Japan cool on certification
Japan voiced concern on Friday about a Chinese plan to order certification of high-tech information security products, which could have wide-ranging effects on trade and on foreign manufacturers in China. China has said it will unveil on May 1 the rules for certifying the products, which include smart card chip operating systems, secure routers, secure database systems, anti-spam products and firewall products. “If a compulsory certification system of information-security products, which would be unprecedented internationally, is introduced, then this may have a negative impact on smooth trade ties between Japan and China,” Japan’s chief cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said.