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Retail Briefs

KKR Buying Dollar General

Private equity firm KKR is looking to acquire 8,260-unit Dollar General in a transaction valued at $7.3 billion, including about $380 million of net debt. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2007. "We are very pleased to announce a transaction that provides excellent value for our shareholders," said David Perdue, chairman and ceo of Dollar General. KKR said it would work to "position the company for future growth." HTT research pegged Dollar General's 2005 home textiles sales at $126.0 million.

Target Opens 15 New Stores

Target opened 15 new stores in a single weekend this month, part of its annual spring opening sweep. New units opened in Cleveland; Nashville; Chambersburg, Pa.; Oak Lawn, Ill.; Culpepper, Va.; Ontario, Calif.; Dothan, Ala.; Peoria, Ariz.; Grand Prairie, Texas; Sterling Heights, Mich.; Jacksonville East, Fla.; Jacksonville West, Fla.; Watertown, N.Y.; West Sacramento, Calif.; and Monticello, Minn.

EPA Lauds JCP Eco-efforts

In a March 21 ceremony in Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named JCPenney the 2007 Energy Star Retail Partner of the Year, recognizing the company's energy management and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Despite an increase in both store operating hours and gross building area, JCP managed to cut its total energy consumption in 2006. "Because buildings contribute about 20% of our national greenhouse gas emissions, effective energy management helps the bottom line and protects our environment," said Bill Wehrum, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation.

Jo-Ann Stores Getting Profitable

Jo-Ann Stores saw a 6.0% falloff in fourth-quarter same store sales and a 5.9% drop in same-store sales for all of 2006 — but the 801-store fabric and crafts retailer kept overhead down and increased quarterly gross margins 310 basis points to 45.0% from 41.9%. The result: net earnings of $25.8 million, compared with a net loss of $18.0 million in the prior year fourth quarter. And for all of 2006, the $1.85 billion company posted a net loss of $1.9 million, compared with a net loss of $23.0 million for 2005.

Kirklands Seeks Turnaround

Home décor specialty retailer Kirkland's reported full-year sales up 7.6% to $446.8 million and a net loss of $0.1 million. But full year comps fell 6.6% over a 2005 comp drop of 6.9%. Robert Alderson, ceo, said, "We were able to maintain margin while aggressively moving merchandise in our January clearance event and keeping operating costs in line…. Key hires in the merchandising group late in the fourth quarter bring us closer to assembling the team to lead our turnaround. We are continuing our search for a dynamic and experienced store leader."

JCPenney Preps California DC

JCPenney will open a 436,000-square-foot cross-dock logistics center in Lathrop, Calif. this August. Adjacent to the major freeway I-5, 40 miles inland from the Port of Oakland, the facility will support the $19.9 billion retailer's importing as it plans to add 150 stores over the next three years.

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