Carter says no to governor’s run


House Speaker Davy Carter (R-Cabot) says he won’t run for Arkansas governor in 2014, citing a return to the private sector.

“After much deliberation, I have decided against a campaign for governor at this time. In the past weeks, I have had many calls of encouragement and offers of support from fellow Republicans, Independents and yes, even Democrats, all of which I very much appreciate. I love this state and I love public service. While I will be returning to the private sector, I will find ways to remain involved in public service in Arkansas in the years ahead,” Carter said.

Carter, a lawyer and former banker, had talked publicly about seeking the Republican nomination for governor toward the end of the legislative session in April. Currently, former 3rd District Congressman Asa Hutchinson, North Little Rock’s Curtis Coleman and Rep. Debra Rogers, R-Rogers, have said they will vie for the post.

‘Considerable Headwinds’ blunt Wal-Mart Q1 profits

Wal-Mart’s overall revenues and net income grew by about 1 percent with the retail giant blaming weather, low inflation and sluggish consumer spending for the small gains. The Bentonville-based retailer reported first quarter net income of $3.784 billion on revenue of $114.2 billion. One year ago, Wal-Mart posted net income of $3.742 billion on sales of $112.26 billion. U.S. same-store sales actually declined 1.2 percent although Sam’s Club revenue was up 0.2 percent.

“In a quarter marked by considerable headwinds to top line sales, Walmart delivered solid EPS [earnings per share] growth of 4.6 percent,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. president and CEO.

Duke noted that e-commerce sales grew more than 30 percent in the first quarter versus last year. Wal-Mart has made significant pushes to boost its e-commerce offerings as consumers are altering shopping habits to more online purchases.

Acxiom quarterly profits down 71 percent from previous year

Acxiom Corp. saw revenues fall nearly 3.5 percent in its final fiscal quarter, but earnings plummeted 71 percent during the three-month reporting period. The Little Rock-based data marketer posted net income of $13.2 million on revenue of $277.1 million. One year ago, Acxiom reported profits of $46 million on revenue of $287.2 million. For the full year, Acxiom posted net earnings of $57.6 million on revenue of $1.1 billion. One year ago, Acxiom reported net earnings of $77.3 million on revenue of $1.13 billion.

Dillard’s sees 23 percent boost in Q1 bottom line

Despite flat-line sales brought about by cooler temperatures, Dillard’s reported a 23 percent increase in profits as the Little Rock-based mall retailer boosted its bottom line. Dillard’s reported net income of $117.2 million on sales and revenue of $1.589 billion in its first quarter. One year ago, Dillard’s reported quarterly profits of $95 million on revenue of $1.586 billion. The company cited an improving gross margin on merchandise which improved 110 basis points, as well as a small decrease in operating expenses.

AERT turns first quarter profit

Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, Inc. said sales shrunk, but it squeezed a profitable quarter out of the first three months of the year. The Springdale-based plastics recycler and manufacturer posted sales for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 of $18.7 million, roughly $3 million less than the same period a year ago. Net income rose to $600,000, a reversal from a $300,000 loss one year ago. AERT cited “prolonged winter weather conditions in most of the U.S.” for the sales decline.

Inuvo shrinks first quarter loss

Conway-based Inuvo Inc., nearly doubled its first quarter sales and significantly reduced a quarterly net loss as results improved from a year ago. Inuvo, an Internet marketing and technology firm, posted first quarter sales of $15.91 million, up from $8.76 million one year ago. The company’s net loss was $290,000 compared to a $1.87 million loss in the previous year’s comparable quarter.

Casino wagering tops $1 billion at Oaklawn, Southland

Casino-style electronic games of skill wagers at Oaklawn and Southland continued their year-over-year increases, but record months weren’t in the numbers in April. Still after back-to-back months of record highs, the two racetracks cleared the $1 billion mark in total EGS wagers in 2013.

The latest statistics released by the Arkansas Racing Commission showed both tracks with 29 percent increases in electronic games of skill (EGS) wagering in April versus the previous year. Southland’s year-to-date EGS wagers exceeded $731.1 million, while Oaklawn surpassed $380.42 million for the year. EGS wagers include gambling spent on video blackjack, poker, slot machines and other casino-style games.

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Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His email address is roby@talkbusiness.net; his website address is www.talkbusiness.net