This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, March 4, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All this war talk making for lots of uncertainty in corporate America. Take the retailers: already stung by weak sales and shattered consumer confidence could be facing even bigger blows now. So when bombs start dropping, will consumers go running scared? Let's ask the man who runs the biggest toy store on the planet, John Eyler, chairman and CEO of Toys "R" Us.
John, good to see you.
JOHN EYLER, CHMN. & CEO, TOYS "R" US (TOY): You too, Neil.
CAVUTO: You are just coming off a good report, you're up 19 percent, sales strong, everything is strong. Everyone says that stops when the bombs start falling.
EYLER: Oh, I think what's interesting right now is we are seeing certain categories, like simple things, like board games that families can do together, we're seeing a lot of evidence that people are sort of hunkering down into their homes and spending more time with their families.
CAVUTO: But what if they don't leave their homes? What if maybe what the market is saying about your stock is they are anticipating sort of an insular thing going on that's going to hurt you?
EYLER: Well, that's, I think, one of the things that's driven our dot-com business into profitability in the fourth quarter. It really.
CAVUTO: More than compensating for the traffic that you might miss somewhere else?
EYLER: Overall, we run the portfolio, and the fact that the toy business was down a little and the earnings were down a little there, was offset by the other segments that picked up 19 percent for the year.
CAVUTO: While you're here, what do you think of this dividend tax cut the president wants?
EYLER: I think philosophically the double taxation of dividends ought to be eliminated. I don't think this is the time to do it. I personally believe that the challenge facing our economy is to stimulate demand, not to increase production or anything else.
CAVUTO: So you want a good, swift kick for the economy, give it the tax cuts now.
EYLER: I think getting dollars into consumers' hands, allowing them to spend those dollars, drive demand, therefore drive long-term investment in the economy is a much more practical way to get it done.
CAVUTO: I have always thought the dividend tax cut was Trojan horse issue, a debatable issue that you could put on the table and then really get what the administration wants, those speeded up tax rates. What do you think?
EYLER: That may well be. But I think right now is not a time on either side of the aisle for political posturing. I think we ought to be looking at what are the most effective current ways to drive and stimulate this business.
CAVUTO: And speeding up those tax cuts would be it for you?
EYLER: Any way that you can get dollars in consumers' hands I think is most important thing right now.
CAVUTO: All right. John Eyler, the Toys "R" Us chairman and CEO, good seeing you again.
EYLER: You, too.
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