“While investors have sought to value Sears as something other than a retailer, its recent results demonstrate that it is not immune to the current challenging sales environment impacting retailers with big-ticket home exposure,” Goldman Sachs analyst Adrianne Shapira wrote in a research note. For the quarter that will end Aug. 4, executives at the nation’s third-largest retailer said Sears expects to earn $160 million to $200 million, or $1.06 to $1.32 per share. That includes a gain of 8 cents per share from bankruptcy-related settlements and investing activities. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected second-quarter earnings of $2.12 per share for the company, based in Hoffman Estates in the Chicago area. “We are disappointed with our recent performance,” Chief Executive Aylwin Lewis said in a written statement. “Although we believe our business has suffered from many of the same factors that have led other retailers to announce disappointing results and lowered expectations, our recent performance underscores our ongoing need to become more relevant to consumers while improving our discipline around expense management.” Despite the company’s bad news Tuesday, some analysts seemed to continue to count on Lampert’s reputation as a shrewd money manager. CHICAGO – Sears Holdings Corp. surprised Wall Street on Tuesday with a warning that its second-quarter earnings will likely fall well below expectations because of more disappointing sales at Sears and Kmart. The news tanked Sears’ stock, which fell more than 10 percent to a 10-month low before rebounding slightly. It would be the second earnings miss in a row for the department store chain led by Chairman Eddie Lampert, a hedge-fund guru who acquired Kmart in 2003 and Sears, Roebuck and Co. in 2005. With Lampert at the helm, many investors have regarded Sears as a hedge fund masquerading as a department store, and they have been anxiously awaiting word from Lampert about a possible expansion that could turn around the company’s fortunes. Sears’ profits and stock price have fared well in the past two years, but revenues have continued to sink. “While we believe Sears Holdings remains several years away from being a formidable competitor in the industry, we believe that management will make financial and strategic moves that should reward shareholders in the meantime,” Lehman Brothers analyst Robert Drbul wrote in a research note. “Given Mr. Lampert’s track record and the resources available to him with this company, we expect a high level of success.” Sears shares fell $17.20, or 10 percent, to $154.21 Tuesday.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Chatham-Kent police continue to appeal to the public as officers search for a woman who has been missing since last week.Catherine Boyle, 70, of Meadowvale Line in Chatham Township was last seen at home on Wednesday around 6:30 a.m.A police mobile command unit was stationed on Highway 40, just north of Meadowvale Line, on Monday.“Officers are conducting a grid search (and) the drone has been deployed to assist with search efforts,” police stated on social media. “Anyone with information is asked to contact police.”An officer at the scene said not much more could be said at this time.Boyle is described as 5’2” and approximately 150 pounds, with curly brown and grey hair. Police and family members are concerned for her safety and well-being.Investigators believe she may be wearing white shoes, carrying a large grey purse and driving a white 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac with Ontario licence plates AZ61358.The vehicle has a four-foot box, black hard tonneau cover with a Detroit Lions blue logo in the back window.Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is asked to contact Const. Rob Bowles at [email protected] or 519-436-6655.Anonymous callers may call Crime Stoppers at 1-8000-222-TIPS (8477) and may be eligible for a cash reward.
24 August 2010Brand South Africa, as part of its “Legacy” campaign, has called on South Africans to “Fly the Flag” this Friday by doing something in support of the Department of Education’s Class of 2010 initiative.Brand South Africa’s Legacy campaign aims to leverage the momentum of the 2010 Fifa World Cup by providing platforms for South Africans to keep achieving and showcasing their “South Africanness” to the world, while entrenching the principles of pride, patriotism and solid citizenship that have been established over the past year.SA Legacy campaign explainedEach Friday for the next five weeks, “South Africans will celebrate all the things that make us who we are,” Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola told journalists at the launch of the campaign in Johannesburg on Monday.Each Friday will have a different theme, starting on 27 August with a call to Support the Class of 2010.With the countdown to this year’s final matric exams well under way, Matola said, “it is up to us to support our scholars.“Most importantly, we need to pledge to help learners realise how important their education is, but we can also give support by helping a scholar to write a study plan or assisting with revision.”Support your Class of 2010 – posterClass of 2010 Pledge – posterMatola said he himself had pledged both his and Brand South Africa’s support for the Class of 2010. “My organisation has dedicated Fridays to distributing stationery to schools, and donating 30 minutes of their lunchtime to teaching learners about post-matric career choices.”During the World Cup, Matola said, South Africans united in support of their team and their country, in the process learning a valuable lesson – “that together we can do anything we put our souls into.“If you pledge that same support to your Class of 2010, you can give them all the motivation and inspiration they need to succeed, not only in their final examinations, but also in life.”SAinfo reporterSA Legacy campaign: programmeWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Seamer-friendly conditions and two seamers accounting for 22 wickets is a rarity in domestic cricket. When Haryana and Rajasthan were fighting a battle of nerves in a Ranji Trophy semi-final at Lahli, Rohtak, this week, on a wicket that tested the batting skills of one and all, it made for some absorbing cricket, not always gripping, but one that kept almost every player engaged right through.The centre of attraction was two young pacers – Haryana’s Harshal Patel and Rajasthan’s Rituraj Singh – both bowling with discipline and consistency to reap the rewards. The two have clearly made an impression in their first year of first-class cricket.Patel, with seven Ranji matches under his belt, backed his eight for 40 against Karnataka in the quarter-final with another excellent performance, taking eight for 34 in the first innings against defending champions Rajasthan to finish with his maiden 10-wicket haul.Rituraj, playing only his third Ranji Trophy match, scalped 12 for 82, including 5/ 37 in the second innings that saw Rajasthan defend 184 runs and make it to the final inside two and a half days.At the start of the season, Patel found the going tough and got only nine wickets in his first five Ranji matches. But he learnt his lessons quickly, and when bigger occasions came, the 21-year-old stood counted. In the quarterfinal, against Karnataka’s strong batting line-up, Patel cleared the road for Haryana’s upset victory.”I will rate my bowling against Karnataka above my performance in the semi- final. It was a special one because the conditions were more difficult for a bowler. The Bangalore wicket was helpful only in the morning when it was fresh and after that it turned out to be a good batting wicket. The wicket at Lahli was sporting. There were runs for the batsmen, but at the same time the bowlers had a chance if they pitched it in the right areas,” Patel told Mail Today.advertisement”I did the basics right, bowled the desired line and length and maintained the intensity,” said Ahmedabad-based Patel, who headed to Haryana as he was not getting a berth in Gujarat team.Patel is well aware of his strengths and the aspects of his bowling that need to be polished. “I can move the ball both ways and that is my biggest weapon. I would like to be a little quicker.” For that he is making some adjustment in his action and working with well-known Essex coach and former fast bowler Ian Pont, who has a contract with Haryana.”You get a lot of wickets in junior cricket but it is a different ballgame when you play at the senior circuit. You have to be consistent and patient for a long time. Nothing comes easy. This is something I learnt after the first five Ranji matches,” said Patel, who started as a batting all- rounder before choosing to concentrate more on his bowling.Patel had to make a tough choice very early in his career and he has been proved right. His family had to shift to USA when he was 16. But Patel decided to stay back and pursue his cricket. “Initially, living alone was difficult. I was very young and had to take care of everything. Now I have adapted to the change. I visit my parents in summers. They backed my decision and are happy with my success.”Rituraj came as a replacement for medium-pacer Deepak Chahar, who made headlines in the previous season. Chahar was down with jaundice and that paved the way for Rituraj, trained by Anil Sinha, to grab a spot.He immediately turned the fortunes of Rajasthan around with 22 wickets in three matches that included three five-wicket hauls.Swing is Rituraj’s strong point even as he aims to improve his pace. His ability to bowl on and outside off left the Haryana batsmen laden-footed. “I believe in line and length and it helps my style. It was important that I did not get carried away by the helpful conditions at Lahli. It was a fine learning process for me.”I know this is just the first step for me. I have a long way to go. I have to improve and keep doing the good work,” says Rituraj, echoing the thoughts of Patel as well.
Back in 2010, Apple’s iPhone 4 did wonders for smartphone design. It was a Rolls-Royce in a sea of me-too Hyundai’s. Even today, the design of the iPhone 4 can be considered the nicest seen on a phone. However, what happens after 5 years? Of course, Apple moved on. But it did “inspire” a legion of manufacturers. A latest example is Indian smartphone vendor Micromax, which admittedly is not known for its design finesse, but has come up with a phone that looks almost like an iPhone, has decent specifications, and costs under Rs 15,000.This phone is the Canvas Hue AQ5000. While it undoubtedly has good looks and decent hardware, at least in terms of specification sheet, it also faces formidable competition. So is it any good? Let’s find out.Design and build qualityAs we have already mentioned, the Canvas Hue is going to remind you a lot of the iPhone 4 or 4S. It sports a similar design, which combines glass on two sides, a metal frame subtly curved on edges and a classic candy-bar shape. Even the camera is placed on the top left corner with an LED flash almost exactly like the iPhone 4. The only major difference between the iPhone 4 and the Canvas Hue in terms of design is the presence of Android capacitive buttons instead of the usual Home button found in the iPhone. There is no doubt that the Canvas Hue is a looker. But the design is not original. Moreover, the fit and finish of the product cannot be compared to an iPhone 4. They are just not in the same league. For instance, the metal frame is painted in gold. Finish of the paint is not great and it looks cheap.advertisementFor the price segment, the Canvas Hue offers acceptable build quality. But then it is not something that you can’t get in other phones in the same price range. For example, phones like the Mi 3 (which unfortunately is not available for sale anymore) and the Moto G offer better build quality.The phone also appears to be thicker than most phones in the segment, though cleverly Micromax has not revealed its dimensions and weight.As was the case with the iPhone 4, ergonomics are not exactly great with Canvas Hue. If anything, they are poorer thanks to the larger 5-inch screen on it as compared to the 3.5-inch display of the iPhone. As the phone has straight lines on the sides and is flat on the back, holding the phone over long periods can be cumbersome. One-handed use is possible, but it is not without risk, as the glass back on the phone makes for a slippery grip and chances are you will drop the phone. We dropped it once; thankfully, the glass on the back did not shatter. It was merely scratched.We had a bone to pick with the volume and power rockers, which we found to be flush against the body of the phone, and were a little difficult to use. Lastly, the process of adding the SIM card is convoluted and we feel most people will struggle installing a SIM card on their own. You have to pry open the back of the phone in an awkward way. This also means the phone gives out the illusion of having an unibody design, but in reality its back cover can be removed. DisplayThe 5-inch AMOLED display is the star of the show on the Canvas Hue. It has a decent 720p resolution, which converts to 293 pixels per inch, but the real story is the quality of the panel itself.The colour and contrast reproduction of the display is superb. Of course, as it is an AMOLED display, the colours are very punchy and vibrant. They do not look true to life, but they do please the eye.Even the brightness levels and viewing angles of the display are good. Even outdoors, the display is usable for getting work done. Typically AMOLED displays struggle under direct sunlight, however, the Canvas Hue fares better.CameraOf late, Micromax has been putting an extra effort in the imaging capabilities of its smartphones. The 8-megapixel camera on the Canvas Hue is by no means a prop. In proper lightning, the phone can take nice photos with decent amount of detail. But by no means, the image quality rival that of the now defunct Xiaomi Mi 3. In fact, it even trails what the Asus ZenFone, the Xiaomi RedMi Note 4G or the Yu Yureka are capable of.The big problem is in day light as the phone struggles to deal with strong sunlight. It totally blows out areas of the frame that have lots of sunlight.advertisementAs for colour reproduction and contrast, the phone does a good job of keeping things natural. The phone also does well at macro shots.The bigger problem is the slow focusing. This means that there will be many times you will be trying to capture a moving object and you will fail to get a decent photo.In low-light the performance is poor. That being true, sometimes we managed usable shots that were decently lit, not blurred and had good colour and contrast ratios.The phone’s software offers a lot of control to the user and combines a multitude of modes like exposure, colour effect, scenes, and white balance. Users can also enable zero shutter lag and there’s a decent HDR mode to boot.The front facing 2-megapixel camera is useful for selfies and the odd video call. However, the image quality is very disappointing. It also struggles to lock focus consistently.The phone shoots only 720p video. Generally, the quality of videos is inconsistent and it struggles to automatically adjust focus with movement. On many occasions we found the audio captured along with video was garbled.Check the following image samples to get an idea of Micromax Canvas Hue Camera performance: Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3, Sample 4, Sample 5, Sample 6, Sample 7, Sample 8. SoftwareOne of the most unique things about the Canvas Hue is the fact that it is a vessel for Micromax’s new user interface. The new UI is similar to Android skins we have seen on phones by Chinese manufacturers as there is no dedicated app drawer, but just an iPhone like springboard that is home of apps and widgets. Like most phones, it runs on Android 4.4 KitKat; however, the heavy customization to Android may result in slow OS updates.Like the MiUI on Xiaomi phones, Micromax’s UI has provisions for themes. At the time of testing there were a handful of themes.In use, this UI is simple to use, however it feels slow in operation. When replaced with something like the Google Now launcher, the phone felt vastly more responsive. So dear Micromax, “Thanks, but no thanks”.The phone also comes with a number of preloaded apps. Some apps like a SwiftKey keyboard, TrueCaller and Skype are regular stables on any Android phone. However, things like Where’s My Perry, Dr Safety, Hitout Hero’s, Grow Away and a bunch of M! branded apps just ruin the experience by being wasteful and non-removable additions.PerformanceIn terms of hardware, the Canvas Hue is a rather ‘run of the mill’ Android smartphone. It is powered by quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor. It runs at 1.3GHz SoC. The phone has 1GB RAM, 8GB internal memory, and a microSD card slot. For basic tasks like messaging, making calls, emails, and a bit of productivity, the phone is fine. It is just not a fast phone by any metric. In fact, cheaper Android One phones feel faster than it. Installing Google Now launcher improves the performance. But even with a new launcher the Hue can’t match the Moto G (2nd gen), the Asus ZenFone 5 or the Xiaomi Mi 3. Compared to these devices, the Canvas Hue feels inferior.advertisementThe story is the same while gaming. When we tested graphically intensive games like the Dead Trigger 2, and Asphalt 8, the phone showed signs of frame rate drops. Not that other phones do not suffer from frame rates issues, but the Canvas Hue suffered from these problems more often. The call quality of the phone was not outstanding, but it got the job done. Rarely did we face dropped calls. We tested the phone on a Vodafone network in Delhi NCR. In addition to this, the quality of the loudspeaker was average at best, and at times when we pumped metal music at max levels, the sound quality degraded and was distorted.Battery life While the display of the Canvas Hue impresses a lot, its biggest calling card is its mammoth 3,000mAh battery. In the week we tested the phone, on an average, the phone lasted between 20-22 hours. This is solid performance for something that costs below Rs 15,000. At times, the phone lasted a day and a half on a single charge with frugal usage and the super power mode enabled.The phone lasted 4 hours and 55 minutes on the PC Mark’s battery benchmark, which is not stellar, but in regular usage, the performance of the phone was certainly better. Perhaps, this is one area where the lack of a powerful processor helps the Canvas Hue over phones like the Asus ZenFone, the Xiaomi Mi 3, and the Moto G.Our usage consisted of 2 hours of calls, 45 minutes of music streaming, two social media accounts, two email accounts, a bit of gaming, 15-20 photos shot on a daily basis and streaming videos from YouTube.Should you buy it?There are multiple ways to look at the Canvas Hue. It can be seen either as an attractive low-cost phone or an iPhone doppelganger or perhaps as an underpowered phone for its price. The underpowered bit is the most pertinent of the lot.While, the Canvas Hue is a handsome, yet unoriginal phone, there is no escaping from its limitations as a smartphone. Micromax’s software customizations make matters worse and it certainly feels inferior to phones like the discontinued Mi 3, the cheaper ZenFones and the Moto G.If you are going to spend Rs 10,999 on your next smartphone, you can do a lot better than the Canvas Hue. In fact, if you want to buy a Micromax phone, get the company’s Yureka. It is cheaper and much better.