The first full-scale application of Web-based campus card account management capability was launched this week by the University at Buffalo. Using ‘UB Card Online Account Management’, students have access to their ‘Campus Cash’ (bookstore, vending, retail, etc.) and ‘Dining Dollars’ (meal plan) accounts from any Internet-connected personal computer. They can review transaction histories, check balances and transfer money from credit cards or checking accounts into campus accounts. Parents also have the ability to remotely add value to a student’s account. The technology to offer Web access was made possible through an alliance formed between JSA Technologies and Diebold. JSA hosts UB’s secure, password protected site for Web-based transactions and Diebold’s ‘WebAttach’ application provides the interface to the campus card system.Details
On the heels of announcing a long-term 15+ year patent cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft earlier this week, Orbiscom, Inc, the leading online payment security company, confirmed it holds the rights to a portfolio of more than 50 worldwide patents and patent applications granted in the area of Controlled Payment Technology.
Through real-time online or mobile interfaces, Orbiscom’s technology allows users to control and manage the way Card Payments are made. Orbiscom’s patent portfolio includes the generation of unique user-controlled card numbers in real-time so that a consumer or business user does not have to send their actual card numbers over the Internet.
With the confirmation of Orbiscom’s patents accepted and granted in the United States, Europe (patent number 1029311 covering countries throughout Europe), Israel and Singapore, Orbiscom holds the largest number of patents covering the greatest geographic area and economic value of the Controlled Card Payment industry.
“Our global patent portfolio ensures issuers who implement our technology are receiving the strongest Intellectual Property protection available and that their products are delivered by the leading provider of Controlled Payment Products in a standardized and uniform manner,” said Dr. Ian Flitcroft, Director of Technology and Co-founder of Orbiscom.
The most recently issued and accepted patents, covering a broad spectrum of Controlled Payment functionality, are in Israel and Singapore (patent number 76119). Additional patents are expected to be granted in a range of other countries over the coming months. Orbiscom is the only provider of Controlled Payment Numbers that has been issued patents in this space.
“Orbiscom’s global patent strategy is to ensure that Controlled Payment Number Technology develops as a single, interoperable global standard for secure authenticated online payments,” Flitcroft continued. “As such, we at Orbiscom are using our Intellectual Property portfolio to develop the market in partnership with major players such as Microsoft in a consistent manner. Licensing our technology to other companies is a key part of this strategy and, as indicated by the recent Microsoft cross-licensing agreement, we look forward to future licensing deals as the growth of Controlled Payment Technology continues.”
Orbiscom’s patents and applications in the area of Controlled Payment Number Technology include a range of detail that makes it very hard for competitors to “work around these patents and create non-interoperable standards.” Orbiscom patent filings cover the core Control Payment functionality including, but not limited to:
— a range of controls on debit or credit card numbers that consumers can set including the numbers of use, cash limits, time limits and more; — how Controlled Payment Numbers are generated by issuers; — how Controlled Payment Numbers are issued to users; — how Controlled Payment Numbers are processed; and, — authorization algorithms and system design.
In addition to the core concept, the patents and pending applications cover related concepts and products and a wide range of devices with which consumers could use Controlled Payment Number technology such as software, physical cards, phones, set-top boxes and more.
Controlled Payment Technology (CPN) – Explained
Working within the existing credit and debit card infrastructure, Controlled Payment Number technology allows consumers to generate an authenticated, individual controlled card number in real-time for each merchant or payment instead of transmitting their actual credit card number. They can also select the dollar limit, expiration date and specific merchant site for use. It allows consumers or business users to shop at any e-tailer worldwide with confidence and control and has the potential to eliminate online payment fraud.
Controlled Payment’s available through MBNA, Discover
The technology is fully compatible with all credit card associations, including VISA, MasterCard, and Discover, and does not require merchants to make any system changes. Through its existing customers MBNA, Discover, and Allied Irish Banks, Orbiscom has a potential consumer base of more than 100 million cardholders. Orbiscom, through its global patent portfolio, will continue to license Controlled Payment Number Technology directly to bankcard issuers, processors, technology partners and other parties.
Orbiscom is the creator of Controlled Payment Number Technology for online and real world card payments. Orbiscom’s flagship technology O-power(TM) enables card issuers, e-merchants, consumers and businesses to utilize online and wireless devices for controlled and secure debit and credit payments. Founded in early 1998 by professionals from the financial services, software and Internet industries, Orbiscom has operations in New York, Dublin, London, Brussels, Toronto and Sydney. The company has a highly experienced team of experts in software development, Internet banking systems, card processing systems and product marketing. Orbiscom has been granted patents on Controlled Payment Technology in the US, Europe and other countries worldwide. For more information about Orbiscom, go to: [www.orbiscom.com].
The Board of Directors of Payment Services Interactive Gateway Corp., announced several changes in the Executive Management of the company. Mr. James Mundle has resigned from the company as President & CEO to be replaced in the interim by Mr. Anthony Palumbo who will continue as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Mundle has also resigned from the Board of Directors. In addition, three Vice President positions have been created to take advantage of the experience and strengths of other Executive staff members.
“Following our first year-end and first full quarter as a public company, the PSiGate Board of Directors is determined to realize PSiGate’s full potential for growth and shareholder value,” said Robert Fenos, Chairman of the board. “After careful consideration, we have re-organized the Executive structure to improve the company’s performance in several critical areas in response to the challenges of the past and to take the opportunity a fresh start brings.”
Mr. Steve Jasper has been appointed VP Product and Business Development, responsible for new product features and enhancements, and for developing strategic alliances with financial and technology partners.
Mr. Claude Belmonte has been appointed VP Information Technology, responsible for product development, and the integration of emerging technology, including the payment processing and transaction environment.
Mr. Robert Fenos has been appointed VP Sales, responsible for merchant sales, in addition to his existing duties as Executive VP Operations.
With a new set of directives from its Board of Directors, and a re- focused management team, PSiGate is now positioned to take advantage of a growing e-commerce market opportunity in both the US and Canada. Forrester Research, Inc., in conjunction with Greenfield Online, recently announced total spending on online sales in North America increased from $3.4 billion USD in February to $3.5 billion in March. Even though the number of households shopping online remained at 13.5 million, consumers spent an average of $263 per person in March, compared with $248 in February.
PSiGate offers merchants Internet Gateway Services to process and authorize credit card transactions in real-time, deposit merchant sales into any of over a hundred banks across North America, and provide industry-leading fraud protection for merchants through extensive fraud checks, on a 24/7 basis. Current customers of PSiGate include i-Commerce, ePost (a joint venture between Canada Post and the Bank of Montreal) and Yahoo Canada.
Payment Services Interactive Gateway Corp. (PSiGate) empowers businesses on the Internet by providing secure, cost-effective and trusted e-commerce solutions. PSiGate provides an easy and seamless interface to new or existing online commerce enterprises, offering a reliable means of real-time payment collection and financial transaction processing. Management services include automated shipping calculations, fraud screening, and financial account reporting. PSiGate also provides VISA, MasterCard and American Express Internet Merchant Accounts (Merchant IDs) for Canadian-based businesses and companies wishing to enter into the Canadian marketplace.Details
Household International, the 123-year-old, $98 billion (managed assets) consumer lender, announced the gift of a $100,000 grant to the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that young people have the basic skills to effectively manage their personal financial affairs. The $100,000 grant will be used to produce 12 “Smart Money-Smart Kids” educational video segments that will provide parents with easy to use personal finance tips on preparing youth to manage future financial decisions.
“Research shows that a large majority of our nation’s youth do not have the fundamental skills to manage their personal finances,” said Gary Gilmer, President and CEO of Household Finance Corporation/Beneficial. “We are excited to partner with Jump$tart on this initiative, not only because it empowers parents and youth with the knowledge they need to make sound financial decisions, but because it aligns with our commitment to helping individuals protect their financial future.”
To encourage self-sufficiency among youth, the 12 “Smart Money-Smart Kids” educational video segments will focus on the following topics; guiding a teen in buying their first car, convincing young adults to save now rather than later, the importance of paying bills on time, why creditors should never be ignored, how to find out what’s in a credit report, simple steps to balance a checkbook, getting a handle on everyday spending, how to win at the college aid game, should you co-sign a loan, handling credit card marketing in college, creating a moving out budget, and explaining the different between gross and net income.
Beginning in June, the educational video segments will be distributed via satellite to television news organizations in the U.S.
“Currently, only 12 percent of high school students in this country graduate having received formal education in personal finance,” said Dara Duguay, Executive Director of the Jump$tart Coalition. “We are therefore pleased to have the opportunity to work with Household as a corporate partner, so that together we can provide today’s parents with helpful lessons that serve to better educate youth on personal finance issues.”
Founded in 1878, Household’s businesses are leading providers of consumer finance, credit cards, non-prime auto finance and credit insurance products in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. In the United States, Household’s largest business operates under the two oldest and most widely recognized names in consumer finance — HFC and Beneficial. Household is also one of the nation’s largest issuers of private-label and general purpose credit cards, including the GM Card and the AFL-CIO’s Union Privilege card. For more information, visit the company’s website at [http://www.household.com]
For more information on the Jump$tart Coalition, visit the organization’s website at [http://www.jumpstartcoalition.org].
Catuity says that the judge in the Federal Court of Australia legal
commenced by Welcome Real Time against Catuity for patent infringement in
Australia has released his decision. The judge adopted a very broad
interpretation of the laws and facts of this case and found that Catuity and
its subsidiaries did infringe on this Australian WRT patent.
Catuity and our legal counsel believe there are multiple grounds for appeal.
The ruling, effectively, opines that the printed “receipt” for a transaction
using a smart card constitutes a printed “coupon”. The ruling also concludes
that the “index file” commonly used in a smart card is a consumer “behaviour
file”. These conclusions are a significant departure from traditional
Australian and industry meanings and interpretations. In addition the ruling
ignores key descriptions of the invention in the patent and presents a
characterisation of the invention that is neither referred to nor supported by
the written claims. The conclusions, if upheld on appeal, would result in a
fundamental change in the meaning of commonly used words in Australia.
In this case, Catuity was the defendant and based on our interpretation of the
patent, we had little choice but to argue our case. We, and our legal counsel,
obviously did not expect this outcome and do not agree with the conclusions.
Catuity has maintained and continues to believe that this case and the
will have limited impact on Catuity’s business plans. We believe the impact on
customers and potential customers should be minimal for the reason outlined in
this release. We are discussing the ruling with them to determine what, if
impact the ruling, and any technical changes we may make, could have on their
Catuity can avoid infringement of the WRT patent, for example, by simply
ceasing to print anything or by printing only messages that are not a
or “evidence a transaction”, or by making small changes to file and other
design features. The ruling concludes that Catuity only infringes the patent
the first time a smart card is used at a merchant to participate in a program;
there is no on-going infringement. The ruling also implies that the first
Transcard system, launched in trials in 1995, did not infringe the patent and
one (i.e. one of many) small design change incorporated in late 1996, caused
The current version of the Catuity product can be easily modified to work
around the areas we were held to infringe. For example we can display messages
on terminal screens or revert to the 1995 design in the one area that was held
to infringe. Alternatively, Catuity could change the way the first transaction
at a merchant occurs, and avoid infringement of the patent. Any one of these
modifications should resolve the infringement issue. The modifications can be
completed in a short time so the ruling will have little impact on the future
technical operation of the Catuity product in Australia.
The Catuity product has been generally accepted by the market as being the
product and these modifications are not expected to diminish the many
substantial advantages the Catuity product offers.
Irrespective of these matters, the facts remain that this case relates only to
Australia and does not have any jurisdiction or precedent value in the
market since there is no similar patent grant in the United States where the
patent laws are different. Catuity’s business focus is the American market and
our major relationships are with the leading providers of the payment
infrastructure in the United States and our primary customers are in America.
The patent issue only involves smart cards and does not impact our product as
it relates to magnetic stripe cards, a key benefit of our product scope.
Catuity has always and continues to maintain that the Courts are not the best
place to resolve issues of this nature. In the market, the best product with
the best benefits, price and service will prevail. At a time when the market
has the momentum to move forward, all participants in the smart card industry
should be active in establishing standards and procedures and creating a forum
to discuss and resolve these issues in an efficient, fair and timely manner.
Catuity believes the American market will set the international standards for
the integration of loyalty programs with payment and that the release of draft
standards later this year could provide an opportunity for the
procedures to resolve issues common to all smart card industry participants.
In Australia we would prefer a “mediation of the patent issues” by key
participants rather than continuing litigation. There are a number of
Australian patents issued and pending, some or all of which may impact
Welcome Real Time and other market participants.
Catuity is currently working to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.
Catuity has a range of options and will commence an appeal of this Australian
court decision if no more appropriate solution is forthcoming. From the
judgement (and the Court is still to issue orders which may impact our
understanding of the judgement), it appears that Catuity can make relatively
small changes to its product and move forward, without any further threat of
infringement of the WRT Australian or any other corresponding patent.
The number of bankruptcies filed in the first three months of this year increased by 17.5% over the first three months of 2000. The number of filings during the quarter were the highest since the spring of 1998. The spike in filings may be driven in part to the pending bankruptcy reform legislation which will prevent consumers, with good incomes, from filing a Chapter 7 petition. The bankruptcy reform bills are soon to be conferenced and will become effective six-months after the President’s signature. According to stats released yesterday by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, the number of filings during the second fiscal quarter (Jan1-Mar 31) hit 366,841 compared to 312,335 one year ago, and 330,784 during 2Q/99. During the twelve-month period ending Mar 31, 2001, the number of bankruptcies filed totalled 1,307,857 compared to 1,301,205 filed during the same period ending Mar 31, 2000. Of the total filings during the year ending Mar 31, only 35,992 were business filings. California continues to lead the nation with the highest number of personal bankruptcy filings. During the twelve-month ending Mar 31, nearly 134,000 non-business filings were made in California. For historical information on U.S. bankruptcy filings visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
BANKRUPTCY FILING BREAKDOWN
YEAR CH.7 CH.13
2001 904,397 393,033
2000 908,802 381,568
1999 1,017,049 393,245
1998 1,007,213 404,749
1997 862,136 372,369
1996 665,310 300,901
Source: Administrative Office of U.S.Courts
IVI Checkmate Corp. announced the addition of sophisticated
multi-application and thin client functionality to its eN-Touch 3000,
dial-up Internet capable point-of-sale (POS) payment terminal. The
eN-Touch 3000, a touch screen transaction terminal capable of handling
secure credit, debit, EBT, smart card payments and value added Internet
applications such as advertising, loyalty, coupon issuance, e-mail and
merchant home pages.
The eN-Touch 3000 is a highly unique transaction terminal that will
transcend the traditional transaction model to one that has vast
potential to take advantage of the Internet’s “new economy” status. Its
compact, all-in-one design that incorporates a thermal printer, stored
value (smart card) capabilities and a large back-lit touch screen
allows for a multitude of applications to be performed quickly and
easily. The high-speed modem in the eN-Touch 3000 provides fast
communications over the Internet. Additionally, the open software
development environment and large memory that is easily upgradeable
provide a platform for various unique applications never before seen on
a store level transaction terminal. These applications can include web
browser, marketing research, cash register functions, loyalty
applications, bill payments, gift cards, on-line help functions and
“The eN-Touch 3000’s large touch screen allows the development of new
and easier to use applications for the point-of-sale. This unrestricted
design feature of the merchant/consumer interface, allows software
developers to free up their imagination to create better and easier to
use applications for the merchant and consumer alike. IVI Checkmate’s
vision has always included the expansion and simplification of
applications at the storefront. By adding both secure multi-application
and thin client functionality to the terminal, we have increased
programmers ability to add applications for gift card activation and
redemption, loyalty points programs, image retrieval applications,
telephone card activation and more,” says Geoff Bowen, Executive VP and
General Manager, IVI Checkmate Ltd.
The eN-Touch 3000 features an easy to upgrade flash memory card that
offers a base 4 Mb of memory, right up to 64 Mb. In addition to its
vast memory, the terminal features the fastest dial modem, widest
printer and largest touch screen of all its competitors. Smart card
capability is ensured by an optional SAM board and the
Ingenico-manufactured, secure PIN entry device called eN-Crypt 1200.
This PIN entry device allows the customer the ability to swipe their
own credit or debit card, or insert their smart card to complete the
transaction. Combine a host of flexible communication protocols such as
TCP/IP, Datapac, LAN and 3201 dial and the eN-Touch 3000 is clearly
positioned as the functional and technological leader of dial payment
terminals in the world.
The eN-Touch 3000 is also seen as a product that will enable the
companies that distribute payment terminals to reduce their support
costs dramatically. This will be done through the use of visual help
screens on the terminal, as well as through superior diagnostic
capabilities enabled through the TCP/IP communications capability of
the terminal. Processors could use simple browsers such as Internet
Explorer or Netscape to virtually see what is happening at the terminal
level at all times, making the communication with the customer at the
other end much clearer and easier to understand. Resellers of the
terminal can increase its functionality and easily speed the time to
market of value-added solutions without the entire payment application
being re-certified through the licensing and utilization of IVI
Checkmate’s thin client library.
These enhancements to the eN-Touch 3000 through the thin client are
enabled by IVI Checkmate’s Network Services group, and provide the
infrastructure via local North American access numbers for secure
downline loads, Ethernet and ADSL connectivity. Additionally, a thin
browser will enable the merchant to access many new functions under
development such as inventory control, time and attendance,
newsletters, settlement reports etc.
“With this new device, our customers have the opportunity to move
beyond simple card payment processing to true information processing,
in a compact stand-alone point of sale terminal,” added Bowen. “This is
the point-of-sale platform for the future.”
About IVI Checkmate
IVI Checkmate is a major electronic transaction solutions provider in
North America. The Company designs, develops and markets innovative
payment and value-added solutions that optimize transaction management
while lowering our customer’s cost of payment at the point of service
within the retail, financial, travel & entertainment, health care and
transportation industries. Ingenico, its strategic partner, is a
worldwide leader in the manufacture and distribution of smart
card-based and secured transaction products and systems. Ingenico’s
installed base, which exceeds 3 million point-of-service terminals,
serves the needs of customers in over 70 countries and territories.
Household International, Inc., through its private label credit card unit, announced it has signed an agreement to manage a new private label credit card program for David’s Bridal, a subsidiary of May Company and the largest specialty retailer of bridal apparel in the U.S.
Through the agreement, David’s Bridal customers will benefit from special financing options, such as 90 day “same as cash” financing, which allows shoppers three months of interest-free payments after a purchase, low monthly payments and advance notice of special promotions and discounts.
“Household is pleased to manage private label financing for David’s Bridal and its customers,” said Sandy Derickson, managing director and CEO, Household Retail Services. “This is an exciting time for Household’s private label business as we rapidly add to our client roster and strengthen our position as the premier private label credit card for leading retailers and e-retailers.”
“We are very excited to offer an exclusive private label credit card to our customers, especially 90 day same as cash financing,” said Shelly Shapiro, senior vice president, David’s Bridal. “This is a great opportunity to expand and grow our business. We look forward to a happy marriage between David’s Bridal and Household.”
In addition to David’s Bridal, Household offers private label credit cards and sales finance products for a range of retailers and merchants in industries such as furniture, department store, consumer electronics, specialty discount and apparel. Household also provides financing for dealers in motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercrafts and snowmobiles.
About David’s Bridal
David’s Bridal has become the nation’s largest bridal retailer (with over 135 stores nationwide) with its unique concept of offering thousands of reasonably priced exclusive designer gowns in stock in sizes 2-26.
Household’s businesses are leading providers of consumer finance, credit card, auto finance and credit insurance products in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. In the United States, Household’s largest business, founded in 1878, operates under the two oldest and most widely recognized names in consumer finance — HFC and Beneficial. Household is also one of the nation’s largest issuers of private-label and general purpose credit cards, including the GM Card and the AFL-CIO’s Union Privilege card. For more information, visit the company’s web site at [http://www.household.com].
Barclays and Vodafone have launched the UK’s first WAP banking, credit card
and share dealing services through a mobile phone. The bank’s customers
will now be able to access their account balances, transfer money between
accounts and pay bills through the Vodafone network. The new service will
also be able to give users directions to the nearest Barclays cash machine.
MasterCard expanded its ‘Business Bonuses’ program to enable ‘MasterCard BusinessCard’ cardholders to earn points toward a ‘MasterCard Bonus Card’. The ‘MasterCard Bonus Card’ may then be used anywhere MasterCards are accepted. Offered through participating member financial institutions, ‘MasterCard Business Bonuses’ enables cardholders to earn points for every dollar spent on their MasterCard card. Originally launched in 1999, ‘Business Bonuses’ allowed MasterCard BusinessCard cardholders to redeem rewards points on any airline at any time – without blackout periods. Most issuers charge an extra fee for participation in the program. Other MasterCard programs for small businesses include: ‘MasterCard Smart Data OnLine’ assists a small business in organizing, consolidating, analyzing and managing financial data through the Internet; ‘MasterCard Business Savings’ offers negotiated savings of 10% to 40% on key goods and services in various categories of small business services; ‘MasterCard Small Business Connections’ is an Internet gateway for managing expenses and gathering information; and ‘MasterCard MarketAccess’ which offers a marketplace where small business cardholders buy and sell goods and services online. Sprint, PromiseMark, an Internet and data-related protection plan company, and Bpath, a provider of e-commerce and e-marketing services, recently joined the ‘Small Business Connection’ program. (CF Library 1/9/01; 5/11/01)Details
Swedbank and American Express unveiled the new Swedbank American Express Business Card.The Business Credit Card, which has been designed to meet the needs of small business customers in Sweden, will be available at major branches of Swedbank in Sweden and will operate on American Express’ global merchant network. The card offers a vast array of business and travel benefits including a concierge business and travel service. By issuing cards on the American Express network, Swedbank is able to provide its customers with a wider range of innovative card offerings under a strong, global brand. As the card issuer, Swedbank will be responsible for all servicing of the Card — including billing, accounting, customer service and credit authorizations, as well as marketing activity relating to the product.Kennet Karlsson, Head of Payment Division, Swedbank said, “We are launching a unique product today. For the first time we are offering customers a card that carries the servicing excellence of Swedbank, backed by the global brand assurance and merchant network of American Express. Our goal is to be the best bank for business clients in Sweden, and the launch of the Business Card is yet another step in Swedbank’s aggressive strategy of attracting business clients.” Peter Wright, Senior Vice President, Global Network Services, American Express, said, “We are delighted that Swedbank, who have an outstanding reputation in the marketplace, are launching their first American Express branded card today. American Express is committed to providing consumers with superior value by leveraging the American Express’ world-class brand and our partners’ innovative servicing capabilities.” American Express is aggressively pursuing a strategy of opening its merchant network and card product portfolio to other card issuers around the world, as a major growth initiative for the company. By leveraging its global infrastructure and the powerful appeal of the American Express brand, the company aims to become the premier global network and gain wider reach to customers worldwide. In the last several years it has developed 72 card-issuing relationships in more than 70 countries. In Europe alone, American Express has established 29 such alliances, allowing the company successfully to build its business in the region. Swedbank was created by the merger in 1997 of Foreningsbanken (Co-operative Bank) and Sparbanken Sverige (Savings Bank) to create the largest Bank in Sweden, with over 695 branches throughout the country. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.Details
Dillard’s, Inc. announced operating results for its first quarter ended May 5, 2001.
Net sales for the 13-week period ended May 5, 2001 were $1.920 billion. Sales for the 13-week period ended April 29, 2000 were $2.083 billion. Sales for the 13-week period ended May 5, 2001 decreased 8% on both a total and comparable store basis. Management attributes the decrease in sales to the continued softness in consumer demand in the broadline retail sector as well as to the Company’s recent self-directed inventory reduction measures.
Net Income for the thirteen weeks ended May 5, 2001 was $29 million or $.34 per share comparing to a net loss of $74 million or $.78 per share for the thirteen weeks ended April 29, 2000. Income before extraordinary item and accounting change for the first quarter ended May 5, 2001 was $26 million, or $.30 per fully diluted share, as compared to $56 million, or $.58 per fully diluted share, in the prior year. Included in net income for the first quarter ended May 5, 2001 were after-tax extraordinary gains from early extinguishment of debt in the amount of $3 million($.04 per fully diluted share). Included in the net loss for the quarter ended April 29, 2000 is the cumulative effect of an accounting change, which reduced first quarter net income by $130 million after taxes or $1.36 per share.
Effective the beginning of fiscal 2000, the Company changed its method of accounting for inventories under the retail inventory method. The change principally relates to the Company’s accounting for allowances received from vendors, from recording such allowances directly as a reduction to cost of sales to recording such allowances as a reduction to inventoriable product cost. Financial statements for the quarter ended April 29, 2000 have been restated to reflect this change in accordance with Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 3 “Reporting Accounting Changes in Interim Financial Statements”.
Gross margin as a percentage of sales for the first quarter ended May 5, 2001 improved 50 basis points from the previous year. Management attributes the margin improvement to the Company’s recent inventory reduction measures and to the ongoing execution of key merchandising initiatives, which include:
a) The Product-First Buying Philosophy
b) Enhanced (accelerated) markdown strategy
c) Emphasis on private brand merchandise
d) Reconfiguration of assortments of basic merchandise
For more information regarding the above-mentioned merchandise initiatives, please refer the Company’s report on Form 10-K for the year ended February 3, 2001. Inventory position at May 5, 2001 decreased 6% on both a total and comparable store basis.
Debt and Share Repurchase
During the quarter ended May 5, 2001, Dillard’s, Inc. continued execution of its strategy of early repayment of debt and repurchase of its Class A Common Stock, effecting a balanced approach to such purchases as market conditions permitted.
During the first quarter ended May 5, 2001, the Company repurchased $17 million of its Class A Common Stock under the existing $200 million share repurchase authorization, which was approved by the board of directors in May, 2000.
Approximately $80 million in share repurchase authorization remained under this open-ended plan at May 5, 2001. The Company had 84.0 million shares of its Class A and Class B Common Stock outstanding at May 5, 2001.
During the quarter ended May 5, 2001, Dillard’s repurchased $31 million of its outstanding unsecured notes. Interest rates on the repurchased securities ranged from 6.4% to 8.2%. Maturity dates ranged from 2003 to 2023. These securities were purchased at an average yield of 9.85%, resulting in after-tax gain of approximately $3 million dollars.
A recap of the Company’s debt and share repurchase activity for the first quarter ended May 5, 2001 follows:
Debt Reduction Class A Common Stock
$ 31 million $17 million
1.0 million shares
Average price $16.78
Advertising, Selling, Administrative and General Expenses
Advertising, selling, administrative and general expenses were $542 million (28.2% of sales) for the first quarter ended May 5, 2001 compared to $536 million(25.8% of sales for the prior year period. Lack of sales leverage during the quarter contributed to the increase in operating expenses as a percent to sales.
Interest and Debt Expense
Interest and debt expense decreased approximately $11 million during the 13-week period ended May 5, 2001, respectively, as a result of the Company’s continued focus on decreasing debt levels and success in the execution of this initiative.
Accounts receivable at May 5, 2001 were $883 million compared to $997 million at April 29, 2000. The decrease in accounts receivable is due to the decline in sales and to continuing trend of customers to utilize bank cards and cash rather than the Dillard’s proprietary credit card for purchases. Management is pleased with the overall quality of the accounts receivable portfolio.
Property and Equipment
Net property and equipment at May 5, 2001 was $3.492 billion compared to $3.599 billion at April 29, 2000. The decrease of $107 million is largely the result of related depreciation expense for the 53 weeks exceeding capital expenditures. Capital expenditures during the first quarter ended May 5, 2001 were $57 million.
Store Openings & Acquisitions
During the first quarter, Dillard’s opened two newly-constructed stores in North Carolina as scheduled. The stores are located at Valley Hills Mall in Hickory, North Carolina and Westfield Shopping Town Independence in Wilmington. Each store measures approximately 150,000 square feet. As previously announced, the Company purchased four former ZCMI stores located in Idaho and Utah on April 18, 2001. These stores are currently operating under the Dillard’s nameplate. Additionally, as announced, eight former Montgomery Ward store locations were purchased on April 25, 2001. The Company is currently determining the best use within the respective markets. At May 5, 2001, the Company operated 342 stores spanning 29 states – all operating under one name, Dillard’s.
Additional information regarding sales for the quarter is provided:
Sales by Category
Sales performance by month for the first quarter occurred as follows:
February -3% -2%
March -13% -13%
April -6% -6%
Total -8% -8%
Owned sales performance by category for the first quarter occurred as follows:
13 Weeks Ended
May 5, 2001
Cosmetics -1% 0%
Women’s & Juniors Clothing -9% -9%
Children’s Clothing -11% -11%
Men’s Clothing and Accessories -11% -10%
Shoes, Accessories and Lingerie -6% -6%
Home -11% -11%
Sales by Region
Sales performance by region for the first quarter were:
13 Weeks ended
May 5, 2001
13 Weeks Ended
May 5, 2001
Women’s & Juniors Clothing 33.3%
Children’s Clothing 7.0%
Men’s Clothing and Accessories 17.8%
Shoes, Accessories and Lingerie 20.6%
Estimates for 2001
The Company is updating the following estimates for certain income statement items for the fiscal year ended February 2, 2002, based upon current conditions. Actual results may differ significantly from these estimates as conditions and factors change – See “Forward Looking Information”.
Depreciation and amortization $ 315 $303
Rental expense 75 76
Interest expense 200 224
Capital expenditures 225 226
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