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Targus expands EcoSmart line

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK A maker of laptop computer cases and accessories has launched a collection of sleeves for laptops and netbooks, as well as an eco-friendly clamshell case made of recycled plastic bottles.

Targus’ EcoSmart line now features the Impax laptop sleeve and the 16-in. Spruce EcoSmart clamshell. The Impax laptop sleeve features protective corner bumpers to reduce shock and wear, and easy-to-grip, nonslip materials. The sleeves fit netbooks with 10.2-in. screens, in addition to 14-in., 16-in. and 17-in. laptops. Prices for the Impax laptop sleeve range from $29.99 to $39.99, depending on size.

The new 16-in. Spruce EcoSmart clamshell is made of 100% recycled polyester material and features a soft and padded interior, a durable, rubberized bottom to prevent wear and tear, and plenty of room to store other essentials. It opens like a briefcase for easy access, while the ergonomic shoulder strap and grip makes the case easy to tote. The Spruce clamshell is available in black for an MSRP of $59.99.

"Targus has always been proactive in improving our product offerings through new technology and materials," said Kevin Nicusanti,VP soft goods at Targus. "We continue to expand our EcoSmart line of products and have incorporated new materials into our laptop sleeves, such as double-layered neoprene, scratch-resistant fleece lining and shock-resisting molded corners — features not typically found in the standard array of sleeves in today’s market."

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Kroger reports growth, confirms guidance for FY2010

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI Second-quarter sales for Kroger jumped 6% to $18.8 billion, compared with the year-ago period, the retail giant announced Tuesday.

While the 6% spike included fuel sales, Kroger’s sales excluding fuel rose 3.3% for the quarter ended Aug. 14. Same-store sales, excluding fuel,  increased 2.7% in the second quarter over the same period last year. Net earnings for the second quarter totaled $261.6 million, or 41 cents per diluted share, up from $254.4 million, or 39 cents per diluted share, in second quarter 2009.

Kroger chairman and CEO Dave Dillon said its business momentum is driven by its Customer First strategy, which is implemented across all operating environments. “Kroger’s sales have remained solid in the face of competitive and economic challenges because of the strong credibility we have with our shoppers,” Dillon said. “Our team understands the importance of finding ways to make each customer visit better than the last one, resulting in consistent positive identical supermarket sales growth.”

Kroger also disclosed that its total sales for the first two quarters of fiscal 2010 were $43.6 billion, compared with $40.5 billion for the same period last year. Excluding fuel sales, total sales increased 3.2% over the prior year. For the same period, same-store sales, excluding fuel, increased 2.6%.

Additionally, Kroger updated its same-store sales and earnings guidance for fiscal 2010, expecting a 2% to 3% growth in same-store sales, excluding fuel, as well as $1.60 to $1.80 per diluted share.

“As our results show, we are committed to achieving solid financial results today while we invest in the future growth of Kroger’s business,” Dillon said. “As we move into the second half of the fiscal year, we are striving to achieve results in the top half of our earnings guidance range, even as the operating environment remains uncertain.”

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Feel the love with ‘A Charlie Brown Valentine’

BY Allison Cerra

BURBANK, Calif. Love is in the air for the Peanuts gang.

Warner Home Video is slated to release "A Charlie Brown Valentine" on Jan. 4, 2011, at retailers nationwide. In this Peanuts primetime special, Charlie Brown and his pals may be unlucky in love, but they are fortunate in friendship in this heartfelt holiday treat.

The DVD will feature a bonus special titled "Someday You’ll Find Her, Charlie Brown" and will retail for a suggested retail price of $14.97.

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