米デル、総合IT企業目指す、HPに対抗 

2005年04月08日(金) 10時57分
パソコン世界最大手の米デルは7日、4年以内に売上高を2005年1月通期比6割増の800億ドル(約8兆6400億円)にする経営計画を発表した。サーバーやプリンターなど非パソコン事業を強化、米欧中では工場を新増設する。パソコンの売上高比率は7割弱から約5割に低下する見込み。売上高と事業領域でヒューレット・パッカード(HP)に匹敵する総合IT(情報技術)企業への転身を目指す。

デルは2002年に5年間で売上高を倍増の600億ドルとする計画を公表した。05年1月通期の売上高は492億ドルと同計画の達成はほぼ確実。「(IT景気の後退期は)低コスト経営の強みが生かせる好機」(ケビン・ロリンズ最高経営責任者=CEO)と判断、新計画を策定した。 (Nikkkei.co.jp)

イオン、銀行進出へ―アイワイバンクに対抗。 

2005年04月08日(金) 5時22分
イオングループが決済銀行業務への進出を検討している。スーパーやクレジットカード会員など豊富な営業基盤を持ち、サービス向上には金融ビジネスの拡充が不可欠と判断しているからだ。

同グループのクレジットカード会社、イオンクレジットサービスの森美樹社長は六日の決算会見で「決済銀行(の保有)を視野に、新たな金融事業にチャレンジしたい」と述べた。具体的な構想は今後詰める。出入金サービスだけでなく、有力金融機関と組めばイオンの小売店舗を多様な金融商品を提供する拠点に育てられる可能性もでてきそうだ。ただ、銀行代理店など今後解禁が見込まれる業務については「現段階では白紙」(イオン幹部)としている。

イオンクレジットは二〇〇五年二月末で千二百九十万人の会員を抱え、グループの総合スーパー・食品スーパーは約千二百店、系列コンビニのミニストップは約千七百店に上る。
 流通大手の金融サービスでは、イトーヨーカ堂グループがアイワイバンク銀行を持っており、イオンの銀行進出はこれに対抗する狙いもあるもよう。アイワイは全国のセブンイレブンなどに約一万台のATMを設置している。

Wal-Mart Is Going Upscale. Well, at Least a Little 

2005年04月08日(金) 5時16分
The sheets were soft and silky, with subtle stripes.The bedroom console had a wood veneer with a honey-maple finish - "not paper," said the Wal-Mart representative, showing off the new model.

"But then, it's quite a bit more expensive," she added. An older nightstand, designed with the wood-grained paper coating, was $29. The newer, larger stand was $89.

Wal-Mart is upgrading a lot of its merchandise, while trying to maintain the loyalty of its core customer - the woman who is struggling to provide for herself and her family - executives at the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., said this week.

While whispering comparisons to Wal-Mart's rivals - Target, Gap and Bed, Bath & Beyond - Wal-Mart buyers this week showed off a kaleidoscope of new offerings at a temporary showroom near the company's headquarters, from polo shirts to plasma television sets to gourmet roast beef. Executives admit the company is struggling to keep its competition at bay. Continue (NY times.com)

Taiwan Lifts Ban on U.S. Beef Imposed Over Mad-Cow Disease 

2005年04月08日(金) 5時11分
Taiwan will lift a ban on U.S. beef imposed after the discovery of mad-cow disease 14 months ago in a Washington state heifer, the Agriculture Department said Thursday.

In the year before the ban, Taiwan imported more than $76 million in U.S. beef and beef products, the department said.

That amounts to about 5% of the biggest market for U.S. beef, Japan, which still hasn't resumed beef imports. Japan imported more than $1.5 billion in beef in 2003, according to the department.

Taiwan's government will allow imports of boneless beef from animals younger than 30 months, effective April 16. The age cutoff is based on the belief that inspection spreads with age.

Mad-cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a brain-wasting ailment that in humans causes a variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The disease is a degenerative, fatal brain disorder that has killed more than 150 people, mostly in Britain, where there was an outbreak in the 1990s. (wsj.com)

Retailers Say Weather Put a Chill on High Hopes 

2005年04月08日(金) 5時05分
Shoppers' spring fever subsided in March, as many U.S. retailers blamed cool weather for sluggish demand for spring fashions and lower-than-expected sales.

According to an index of 65 retailers calculated by Retail Metrics LLC, overall sales in stores open at least a year increased 4.1% from the year before. While March represents this year's most difficult comparison because of strong year-earlier results, the results still missed analysts' expectations, which called for a 4.6% increase. It was the first time the index came in short of expectations since November, said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, an independent retail-research company.

"This upward creep of interest rates, coupled with rising gas prices, is creating a dark cloud over the middle- and lower-tier consumer," Mr. Perkins said. He said those pressures led to just 48% of the index's retailers beating expectations, a big drop from the previous month, when a record 80% surpassed expectations. Contined on here (wsj.com)

FDA Stiffens Painkiller Warnings, Pushes Pfizer to Suspend Bextra 

2005年04月08日(金) 4時57分
The Food and Drug Administration took sweeping action to address the health risks of widely used painkillers, calling on companies to include sterner warnings on their labels and pressuring Pfizer Inc. into pulling its Bextra from the market.

The unexpected moves, a response to concerns about potential heart and skin dangers posed by Bextra, were the latest fallout from heightened worries about painkillers. They became a major political and public issue last September when Merck & Co. abruptly pulled its Vioxx drug from the market after a clinical trial linked it to a risk of heart attacks and strokes in long-term users.

Since Merck's decision, the FDA has been under heavy pressure from Congress and consumer groups to take a more forceful stance on emerging dangers tied to medicines. Its actions yesterday were one of several recent signs it is doing just that. For drug companies, the shift could presage a higher bar for approval of new products and a more public and confrontational process when problems emerge for drugs already on pharmacy shelves. (wsj.com)

A Wal-Mart Legend's Trail of Deceit 

2005年04月08日(金) 4時50分
Mr. Coughlin Told Others Bogus Expenses Hid Plot Against Unions Retailer Disputes His Claim

Last November, Thomas M. Coughlin, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s vice chairman, approached a lieutenant with an unusual request. He wanted Jared Bowen to approve around $2,000 in expense payments without any receipts.

Mr. Bowen, then a 31-year-old vice president, recalls that Mr. Coughlin briefly mentioned the money had been used for a "union project."

Concerned that the request seemed fishy, Mr. Bowen eventually alerted another executive, helping trigger an internal probe. Mr. Coughlin, who retired as an executive in January, abruptly resigned on March 25 from his board seat after Wal-Mart found what it said was a pattern of expense-account abuses and the use of false invoices to obtain reimbursements. Several other Wal-Mart employees also have been fired. The U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas is investigating the matter.

Documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal suggest that Mr. Coughlin, 55 years old, periodically had subordinates create fake invoices to get Wal-Mart to pay for his personal expenses. The questionable activity appears to involve dozens of transactions over more than five years, including hunting vacations, a $1,359 pair of alligator boots custom-made for Mr. Coughlin and a $2,590 dog pen for Mr. Coughlin's Arkansas home.

The 6-foot-4 Mr. Coughlin was a Wal-Mart legend -- a protégé and old hunting buddy of founder Sam Walton and for five years the second-highest-ranking executive in a company of more than a million employees. The suggestion that he might have betrayed the company he served for 27 years has shocked many at Wal-Mart and around Bentonville, where the world's biggest retailer is based.

Time Warner & Comcast buy Cable 

2005年04月08日(金) 4時47分
Comcast, Time Warner Set A Cash-and-Stock Accord For More Than $17.6 Billion

Time Warner Inc., Comcast Corp. and Adelphia Communications Corp. creditors reached an agreement in principle for the two cable giants to buy Adelphia in a cash and stock deal valued at slightly more than $17.6 billion, said people familiar with the matter.

While a final deal could still be days away, the deal calls for the two cable firms to put up $12 billion in cash and slightly more than $5.6 billion in stock, which would be issued in a new company that would be created out of Adelphia and Time Warner's cable unit upon completion of the purchase.

Representatives of the two cable companies and Adelphia met with a bankruptcy court judge yesterday to discuss final procedures for completing a purchase, these people said.

The deal would need to be approved by the Adelphia board of directors as well as the committee representing unsecured creditors. Eventually, the judge in the case would have to approve the deal.

The value of the deal is roughly the same as the Time Warner-Comcast venture's original bid, but in recent days the two sides have made progress in resolving a dispute over the value of the stock portion of the bid, these people said. Creditors wanted the buyers to provide a guarantee that the value of the equity wouldn't fall below a certain threshold. They gave up this demand in exchange for an increase in the number of shares, according to a person familiar with the situation.

イオン、5期連続最高益・子会社が貢献 

2005年04月06日(水) 23時35分
イオンが6日発表した2005年2月期連結決算は、経常利益が1560億円と前の期から19%増え、5期連続で過去最高益を更新した。マイカルやイオンクレジットサービスなど子会社が、総合スーパー(GMS)を主力とする単独決算の不振を補う構図が一段と鮮明となった。今期は総合スーパーの国内出店を抑制、中国を中心にアジア事業を強化するが、本業の回復には時間がかかりそうだ。

「20年前から取り組んだショッピングセンターとマイカルの再建が最高益の原動力」。岡田元也社長は決算発表の席上、連結最高益となった理由をこう分析した。

前期の連結売上高は18%増の4兆1958億円。子会社化したマイカルが年間で収益に寄与したほか、ショッピングセンターの開発を手掛けるイオンモールやイオンクレジットが収益を押し上げた。

一方、単独業績は振るわない。単独営業利益は28%減の173億円にとどまった。収益性を示す売上高営業利益率は前の期の1.4%から1%弱に低下。過去10年間で最低となった。「ユニクロ」などの専門店に押され、衣料品などの採算悪化が響いた。 (Nikkei.co.jp)

World Bank Says Economic Recovery Globally Has 'Peaked' 

2005年04月06日(水) 13時20分
The World Bank warned Wednesday that the global economic recovery has "peaked" and said the severity of the coming slowdown will depend on the extent to which foreign investors lose their nerve about buying U.S.-dollar-denominated assets.

In an annual report on the risks confronting developing economies, the bank said the global recovery of the last three years has masked cracks that can't be left unattended for much longer.

The fragility, it said, was highlighted by "brisk sell-offs" of the dollar after some Asian central banks announced last month that they might "diversify" their currency portfolios. (See related article.)

"The global economy is at a turning point," said Francois Bourguignon, the bank's chief economist, in a foreword to the report. "Growth has peaked, and pressures to address global imbalances are growing, exposing important risks facing both developed and developing countries as the needed adjustments occur." (WSJ.com)
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