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Retail Briefs

ShopKo lowers guidance

With sales slack and markdowns running higher than anticipated, ShopKo lowered its guidance for the fourth quarter and fiscal year in late December.

The company expects fourth quarter earnings in the range of $0.95 to $1.10 per share vs. previous guidance at the low end of $1.15 to $1.25 per share. Fiscal year 2003 earnings were lowered to $1.20 to $1.35 per share from earlier guidance at the low end of $1.40 to $1.50. Comps are expected to be negative low single digits for the month of December and fourth quarter.

Lowe's taps Wal-Mart distribution exec

MOORESVILLE, NC — Lowe's hired Michael Mabry as senior vp of distribution. He was most recently vp of global services at Wal-Mart, where he oversaw supply chain activities for direct imports as well as other distribution functions.

A 12-year Wal-Mart veteran, Mabry held a number of positions of increasing responsibility within distribution and logistics. At Lowe's, he replaces Lee Herring, who recently announced his retirement from the company after 27 years.

Zellers signs up for Duff stuff

Zellers will become the exclusive Canadian retailer for a new line of merchandise inspired by teen star Hilary Duff. The "Stuff by Hilary Duff" collection will include home accessories, apparel and cosmetics. It's slated to hit stores in spring.

TJX completes Bob's Stores deal

TJX completed its acquisition of Bob's Stores, the casual apparel and footwear retailer based in Meriden, CT. With an estimated price of $59 million, subject to final adjustments, the acquisition includes the 36 store locations in the Northeast, and the corporate office and warehouse lease in Meriden.

The company sees Bob's as "a significant long-term growth vehicle" with the potential over time of providing a multi-billion-dollar revenue stream and growing to be a chain of 400 stores in the U.S., president and ceo Ted English said.

Eddie Bauer home gets reprieve

DOWNERS GROVE, IL — Eddie Bauer home stores are being spared from the ax and are not among a group of 29 units The Spiegel Group today identified for liquidation in 2004.

The list includes 25 apparel stores and four outlet stores, 16 of which involve natural lease expirations. The closings, which will begin around Jan. 9, are part of a previously announced strategy to improve the productivity of Speigel's store portfolio.

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