Best Buy Co. Inc. surpassed Wall Street expectations with rising profits and declining revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2017, and also announced that a key executive will leave. The retailer said declining cost of sales, selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses and restructuring charges helped its net earnings shoot up 77% to $229 million from $129 million a year earlier. Meanwhile, foreign currency fluctuation and domestic store closures drove a 1% reduction in enterprise revenue to $8.44 billion from $8.56 billion. Both results exceeded analyst predictions. Domestic same-store sales were flat. However, comparable online domestic revenue jumped 24% to $832 million, driven by higher conversion rates and increased traffic.
The Federal Trade Commission will hold a workshop examining privacy issues raised by tracking consumers across devices for ad purposes, the agency said on Tuesday.
“With the advent of new tracking methods, though, it’s important to ensure that consumers’ privacy remains protected as businesses seek to target them across multiple devices,” FTC consumer protection head Jessica Rich said in a statement.
The agency noted that ad companies are turning to tracking technologies other than cookies, which only track people’s activity on one particular device. Cross-device tracking techniques, by contrast, aim to glean information about people’s Web activity across not only desktops or laptops, but also smartphones, tablets and wearable devices.
“A cookie may not provide a complete picture of a consumer who uses different web browsers at home, at work and on their mobile device,” the FTC said.
Given the limitations of cookies, ad companies are exploring other strategies aimed at linking users’ behavior across devices. But companies are often deploying these techniques “without the consumers’ awareness or control,” according to the FTC.
The FTC is seeking public comment on a host of questions, including how ad companies are approaching cross-device tracking, whether the techniques pose any privacy risks, how companies can give consumers more control over cross-device tracking techniques, and whether the current industry self-regulatory programs apply to different cross-device tracking techniques.
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