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Retail Briefs

Wal-Mart Invests in Chinese Chain

Wal-Mart has acquired a 35% interest in Chinese hypermarket operator Bounteous Company Ltd., which operates 101 Trust-Mart stores. Subject to certain conditions, Wal-Mart said it will "acquire ownership control" in the future. Looking ahead, Trust-Mart chairman John Yu said the move "will give our suppliers new opportunities to expand in China and potentially become part of Wal-Mart's global vendor network." Wal-Mart currently operates 68 Supercenters, three Sam's Clubs, and two Neighborhood Markets in China.

Federated to Alter Name to Macy's

Federated Department Stores plans to become Macy's Group Inc. effective June 1, pending shareholder approval. The shift will send into the retail history books a name that was born on Nov. 25, 1929, when Abraham & Straus of Brooklyn; Filene's of Boston; F&R Lazarus & Co. of Columbus, Ohio; and Bloomingdale's of New York agreed to combine. Federated acquired R.H. Macy & Co. in December 1994.

"Macy's Group is the appropriate name for our company, given that about 90% of our sales involve the Macy's brand," said Terry Lundgren, chairman, president and ceo. "That said, Bloomingdale's is — and will remain — a very important part of the company."

Tuesday Morning Beats Estimate

Upscale closeout retailer Tuesday Morning saw sales fall and profits shrink — and same-store sales drop for the third straight year — but its fourth-quarter net income per diluted share of $0.57 beat the consensus analyst estimate of $0.54. Fourth quarter sales overall fell 4.2% to $321.3 million; full-year sales were off 2.2% to $911.1 million. Comp store sales dropped 9.8% in the fourth quarter and fell 7.9% for the year. President and ceo Kathleen Mason said the 795-store national chain will make "about a 10% increase in spend" on advertising in 2007.

Hancock Fabrics CFO Resigns

Hancock Fabrics said Bruce Smith has resigned as cfo and executive vp, effective March 30, to accept a position with another company. Since last fall, the 403-store fabric and craft retailer received several extensions to its regular financial filing deadlines. In December it retained Corporate Revitalization Partners as financial advisor, which continues now in that role. Until a successor is named, Larry Fair, vp-finance, will assume the role of chief accounting officer.

BJ's Chairman Now President, CEO

Herb Zarkin, chairman of the board of BJ's Wholesale Club since 1997, has been elected president and ceo. He also remains chairman of the 172-unit Eastern regional chain; he has served as interim ceo since November.

From 1993 to 1997 Zarkin was president, ceo and a director of Waban Inc., which then operated BJ's Wholesale Club as well as HomeBase, another warehouse merchandising business.

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