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Retail briefs

Costco adds two to board

Costco announced that it has elected two members to join its board of directors. Daniel Evans, chairman of Daniel J. Evans Associates, a consulting firm, was previously a U.S. State Senator and a three-term Governor of the State of Washington. William Gates Sr. is the ceo and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was previously a senior partner with the law firm of Preston Gates & Ellis.

Kmart now to close 317 stores

After negotiating rent reductions on several of its leases, Kmart has decreased the number of store closings from 326 units to 317, said Jack Ferry, spokesperson. The retailer also received bankruptcy court approval for the $2 billion in exit financing from GE Commercial Finance, Fleet Retail Finance Inc. and Bank of America, N.A. This credit facility, which will be secured by inventory, would replace the company's current $2 billion debtor-in-possession facility on the effective date of Kmart's plan of reorganization.

Garden Ridge names new president

Randall Onstead has assumed the role of president at Garden Ridge, the home decor and crafts retailer, succeeding John Martin, who left the company. Onstead joined Garden Ridge in October as ceo, and will continue in that role as well.

Hanover Direct posts 14% sales loss in quarter

After the sale of its improvements business and shutdown of some of its catalogs, including Domestications Kitchen and Home and its Turiya luxury book, Hanover Direct said sales for all of last year fell 14.1 percent, to $457.3 million from $532.2 million in 2001, a shortfall of $74.9 million. Sales from its continuing businesses fell by 7.0 percent, a drop of $34.3 million, the direct-to-consumer retailer reported.

On the upside, the company reported continuing strength in its Internet retailing operations, with sales improving by 30.4 percent, to $87.3 million. As it phases out of some of its catalog operations, the Internet now accounts for roughly 19 percent of all Hanover sales.

Home Depot to consolidate two more divisions

The Home Depot announced today that it will consolidate its New England division with its Eastern division that is headquartered here. The expanded Eastern division will support more than 600 Home Depot stores. Expected to take 60 days to complete, the consolidation will result in the transfer of merchandising and core support functions from the company's Canton, MA, office to its South Plainfield, NJ, office.

The company said that this decision was based on the success of its earlier consolidation of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic divisions last fall.

After the consolidation, the retailer will have seven divisions.

U.S. Factory Outlets picks up two Kmart stores

U.S. Factory Outlets said it has signed leases for two former Kmart stores, in Hanover, PA, and Hamilton, OH.

The closeouter will reopen the 56,000-square-foot Hanover unit in May and a 38,000-square-feet anchor unit at the Hamilton Meadows Shopping Center in June. The chain operates stores in 15 states and carries a mix that is 50/50 apparel/domestics and hard goods.

ShopKo taps two for vp

ShopKo Stores has promoted Thomas Abbott to vp, product development and trend services, and Kathy Friedland-Howard to vp, advertising, for the company's ShopKo division.

Friedland-Howard will add responsibility for advertising operations, broadcast advertising, consumer research and e-commerce to her previous duties overseeing ShopKo's print advertising.

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