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Retail Briefs

Jo-Ann Separates Executive Roles

Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. plans to separate the role of chairman from that of the newly created position of president and CEO.

Under the new structure, Alan Rosskamm, currently chairman, president and CEO, will serve as executive chairman with primary responsibility for the strategic direction, vision, and culture of the company.

A search will be launched to fill the new position of president and CEO, who will report to Rosskamm and assume responsibility for day-to-day operations and execution of strategy. Rosskamm with continue to serve as president and CEO during the search process.

Fred's Looks Upscale

Fred's Inc. hopes to attract a better-paid customer through its newly launched Web site, www.buyersspecials.com.

“We feel that because of the growth predicted for the Internet that we should be there … and this will help our company target a customer that is not a Fred's customer,” said John Reier, president. “We're looking to target a customer that earns $75,000 in income and up.”

Shipping will be done through an outside organization.

Wal-Mart Goes Express

Wal-Mart opened a Wal-Mart Express on the site of its formerly damaged Wal-Mart Supercenter in Waveland, Miss., on Nov. 19. The new store format offers a merchandise mix focused on the needs of the community recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

The Wal-Mart Express is a new store concept that differs from the footprint of a typical Wal-Mart store. The company plans to eventually restore the Waveland store to a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Bon-Ton Lowers Outlook on Closing

Costs associated with The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.'s planned closing of its Walden Galleria store located in Buffalo, N.Y., on Jan. 28 have forced the company to lower its earnings outlook.

The company will incur pre-tax costs due to the closing of $1.8 million, or 7 cents per share on an after-tax basis. Bon-Ton has thus lowered its earnings per share guidance to a range of $1.43 to $1.53 per share, down from the $1.50 per share to $1.60 per share.

Pier 1 Enters New Credit Facility

Pier 1 Imports, Inc. has entered a new $325 million five-year secured credit facility.

The facility is secured by the company's merchandise inventory and credit card receivables. It replaces Pier 1's existing unsecured bank facilities, including its $125 million revolving credit facility, which would have expired in August 2006, its $120 million uncommitted letter of credit facility, and approximately $52 million of credit lines used to issue other special-purpose letters of credit.

The facility will be used for general corporate purposes and the company expects to continue funding its working capital requirements through cash flow from operations, bank facilities and sales of proprietary credit card receivables.

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