Polaroid’s former headquarters to be auctioned

Polaroid Corp.’s former headquarters complex along Route 128 in Waltham is scheduled for the auction block, according to the Boston Herald. According to the report, lenders for the developer that had originally planned to transform the 120-acre property into a sprawling office and retail development by next year have taken control of the project and scheduled a foreclosure sale.

Fred’s reports strong second quarter results

Fred’s Inc., Memphis, Tenn., reported financial results for the second quarter and six months ended Aug. 1, 2009.

For the second quarter of 2009, Fred’s net income increased to $4.2 million from $1.0 million in the same quarter last year. Included in the results of the second quarter were expenses amounting to $0.9 million relating to tax audits of the years 2004 through 2007. Excluding the effects of these tax audits and year-earlier net costs incurred with the Company’s store-closing program,  adjusted net income increased to $5.1 million from $4.2 million for the second quarter last year.

For the six months ended Aug. 1, 2009, net income increased 54 percent to $12.8 million from net income of $8.3 million for the first six months of 2008. Excluding the effects of the tax audits in the current year and net costs incurred with the Company’s store-closing program in the first six months of 2008, net income increased 19% to $13.7 million from $11.5 million last year.

Jo-Ann Stores reports improved second quarter

Jo-Ann Stores Inc., Hudson, Ohio, announced a second-quarter net loss of $3.2 million, compared to a net loss of $11.7 million for the second quarter last year. Net sales for the second quarter increased 4.1 percent to $419.4 million from $403.0 million for the same period last year. Same-store sales increased 1.8 percent compared with a 3.3 percent same-store sales increase for the second quarter last year.

Large-format store net sales for the quarter increased 7.7 percent to $226.1 million compared to the same period last year. Same-store sales for large-format stores increased 0.1 percent compared with an increase of 2.3 percent in last year’s second quarter. Small-format store net sales decreased 0.1 percent to $185.8 million compared to the same period last year. Same-store sales for small-format stores increased 3.9 percent compared with an increase of 4.4 percent for the same period last year. Internet sales through Joann.com were $7.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2010 compared to $7.1 million for the same period last year.

Net sales for the six-month period ended Aug. 1, 2009 were $879.4 million versus $849.1 million in the prior year. Same-store sales increased 1.4 percent for the six-month period compared with a 3.9 percent increase for the same period last year.

DIMAcast presents a new look at on-demand book machines

In 2006, DIMAcast featured an interview with Thor Sigvaldason of On Demand Books, when the company was installing the first units of its Espresso Book MachDIMAcast_125pixine, (EBM,) which automatically prints, binds, and trims, on-demand at point of sale, perfect-bound, library-quality paperback books. In today’s DIMAcast, PMA Senior Editor Jennifer Barr Kruger revisits the topic in an interview with , senior vice-president of Business Development for On Demand Books. He explains what changes have occurred over the past 3 years.

Spectrum Brands exits chapter 11

The Associated Press (AP) reports Spectrum Brands Inc., which makes Rayovac batteries and other products, emerged from bankruptcy after meeting all closing conditions of the company’s reorganization plan, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division.

Additionally, the company closed on a new $242 million exit financing facility, which will be available for the company’s working capital needs.

Spectrum Brands will pay its suppliers in full for outstanding invoices, if it hasn’t done so already; but the company’s old common stock has been cancelled and holders of that stock will get nothing. The company’s bondholders will be issued 27 million shares of new common stock and $218 million in 12 percent senior subordinated notes due 2019. About 3 million shares of new common stock will be issued to participants in Spectrum’s debter-in-possession loan facility, AP reports.

Research reveals user behavior on Twitter

Social media analytics company Sysomos Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, recent completed an extensive study to document growth on social microblogging site Twitter, and how people are using it. After analyzing information disclosed on 11.5 million Twitters accounts, the company found:

  • 72.5 percent of all Twitter users joined the site during the first five months of 2009
  • 85.3 percent of all Twitter users post less than one update/day
  • 21 percent of users have never posted a Tweet
  • 93.6 percent of users have less than 100 followers, while 92.4 percent follow fewer than 100 people.
  • 5 percent of Twitter users account for 75 percent of all activity
  • New York has the most Twitters users, followed by Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco and Boston; while Detroit was the fast-growing city over the first five months of 2009
  • More than 50 percent of all updates are published using tools, mobile and Web-based, other than Twitter.com. TweetDeck is the most popular non-Twitter.com tool, with 19.7 percent market share.
  • There are more women on Twitter (53 percent) than men (47 percent)
  • Of the people who identify themselves as marketers, 15 percent follow more than 2,000 people. This compares with 0.29 percent of overall Twitter users who follow more than 2,000 people.

The complete report is available here.

PMA Data Watch: A look at social network users and photo sharing

The 2009 PMA U.S. Photo Buying Report reveals that almost one-third, or 29 percent, of U.S. households uploaded pictures onto social networks in 2008. On average, 62 pictures were uploaded. PMA Marketing Research found that young households and those with children present are the most active in social networking. InfoTrends has just released a study looking at consumers’ use of social networks, with particular emphasis on photo-related activities.
Social network users are clearly a photo-active group of consumers, as nearly three quarters of them engage in photo sharing, according to the survey research. InfoTrends believes that this group represents more than 50 million potential customers for online photo finishers, even though a relatively low percentage of them indicated interest in ordering prints and photo publishing products.
Since social networking sites typically store photos at low resolutions, photo output options are rather limited. Twenty percent of survey respondents consider social networking sites a safe way to store their important photos but less than a third of respondents realized that their photos are stored at a reduced resolution. Alan Bullock, Associate Director of InfoTrends’ Internet Imaging Trends Service, commented, “Many social networking site users believe that their photos are effectively “backed up” when they are stored on these sites, but this is simply not the case. There is an opportunity for online services that store high-resolution photos to educate the market and to make those photos more easily accessible on social networking sites for viewing and output.”
InfoTrends’ 2009 Social Networks and Photo Sharing Study provides an in-depth analysis of InfoTrends’ consumer survey on the use of social networks and the photo sharing activities that occur on these sites. Fielded in March 2009, this Web survey received responses from 1,810 qualified participants, including 885 who use at least one social networking site on a regular basis. The study also explores some of the newer technologies available to consumers for viewing and sharing their photos, including home networks, television screens, and mobile devices.

Ceiva has 20 finalists in photo contest

Ceiva Logic Inc., Burbank, Calif., announced the 20 finalists in this year’s Summer Fun Photo Contest. To cast your vote, log in to http://www.ceiva.com/contest. The winner receives a Ceiva Digital Photo Frame with a one-year PicturePlan photo delivery service.

Vistaprint named to Fortune 100 Fastest-Growing Companies List

Vistaprint Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda, has been named to Fortune magazine’s global list of the “100 Fastest-Growing Companies.” The ranking, published in the Aug. 31 issue of Fortune, is based on three years of revenue and profit growth, as well as a total shareholder return. Vistaprint ranked No. 16 overall on this year’s list.

Kodak board elects Joel Seligman, University of Rochester

Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y., said Joel Seligman, the president of the University of Rochester, was named to the company’s board of directors, effective July 1, 2009. Seligman, 59, is the 10th president of the University of Rochester.