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Walmart's New Bid For Online Shoppers

Morning Business Memo…

From an online order to an in-store locker. Walmart plans to test an option for shoppers this summer. They will be able to order a product at its website and have it kept in a physical locker at a local store where they can pick up the product without having to wait in line or talk to a store clerk. The test will be conducted in about a dozen stores in an undisclosed market. Walmart and other big retailers are looking for ways to keep up with increasingly demanding web-savvy shoppers, and give them the ability to shop any way they want. The world's largest retailer is also expanding its offerings online and improving a new "scan and go" shopping app so customers can immediately download coupons personalized to them.

Another sign the US economy is in better shape today than a year ago… A new report from the financial analytics firm Sageworks shows privately owned company sales across the country are up by about 10 percent. "The sales growth rate of private companies is strong and continues to be strong over last year," Brian Hamilton, chairman of Sageworks, tells ABC News Radio. "The state of the union around private companies is actually pretty good." The survey shows net profit margins are also going up from last year. But there's one highly unusual trend. "I cannot recall in the past 100 years where there's been this long of sustained growth without job creation. The last time was really during the Great Depression," says Hamilton. "We're into four years of growth without job creation. It is just weird."

Cyprus is getting ready to re-open banks tomorrow, with considerable uncertainty about what will happen. Officials are working on capital control measures to prevent a bank run with depositors cashing out their accounts. European and Cypriot government leaders reached a weekend bailout agreement that averted a bank collapse on Cyprus. There have been street protests in Nicosia against the strict terms of the bailout, and many Cypriots could besiege banks as soon as they reopen after the recent shutdown.

Closer ties for the BRICS. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are talking about closer trade and currency ties at a conference in Durban. They may set up a joint development bank in a bid to boost the BRICS nations' influence in the global economy.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc

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