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Retail briefs

Sears scores off-mall spots from Kmart and Wal-Mart

Sears, Roebuck and Co. has signed a deal to acquire ownership or leasehold interest in up to 61 off-mall stores in key Sears markets from Kmart Holding Corporation and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. for approximately $620 million in cash.

The majority of the stores are expected to be converted by fourth quarter 2005 to Sears nameplates, including a new mid-size format that is modeled on Sears Grand. The Kmart stores are located primarily in large, urban markets with home, family and income demographics similar to Sears. The seven Wal-Mart stores are located in mid-size markets that also fit well into Sears' market and demographic profile, stated the company.

Fortunoff taps Cobuzzi as svp, marketing and sales promo

Peter Cobuzzi has been named senior vice president, marketing and sales promotion at Fortunoff.

He comes to Fortunoff most recently from Lenox Inc, where he was vice president of brand development, since 1998. Cobuzzi was responsible for brand management, market research and strategy, including brand positioning, brand building, general consumer and bridal marketing, advertising, public relations and sales promotion. Prior to joining Lenox, Inc., he was with Tourneau, as vice president of advertising and helped open its Tourneau Time Machine.

Hanover to consolidate distribution

Hanover Direct, Inc. plans to consolidate its company store distribution operations in La Crosse, Wis., into its Roanoke, Va., facility. The consolidation will occur over the next 12 months and is prompted by the lack of sufficient warehouse space in its leased Wisconsin facilities, stated the company. The 630,000-square-foot Roanoke facility owned by the company has excess capacity that was originally engineered in 1995 to support the company's "home core" product line, added Hanover.

Ikea plans second store in Chicago area

Ikea plans to build a store in Bolingbrook, Ill., as its second store and restaurant destination in the Chicago area.

Ikea Schaumburg opened in 1998 at Route 53 (I-290) and the Northwest Tollway (I-90). Pending city approval, construction of the proposed Ikea Bolingbrook could start in fall 2004, with an anticipated opening date of fall 2005, stated the company.

The 21-acre site would include a 310,000-square-foot Ikea store at-grade with 1,300 parking spaces.

BBB's bothersome billion: 'a great problem to have'

At the company's annual shareholders' meeting earlier this month, Bed Bath & Beyond co-Chairman Warren Eisenberg said he wasn't sure what the company would do with its approximately $1 billion in cash.

While setting aside queries about more acquisitions like Harmon or the Christmas Tree Shops, Eisenberg said: "It's sort of like winning the lottery. Everybody wants to give us advice on what to do with it. Some say we should buy back our stock. Others say we should invest it. But we're not going to go out and buy something just because we have the money. But it's a great problem to have, isn't it?"

Bashian Bros. sues Home Depot's Expo Design Center

Bashian Bros. Inc., an importer and creator of oriental rugs has sued Home Depot USA, Inc./dba Expo Design Center for $710,665 alleging unpaid invoices. In the complaint filed June 14, Bashian said that it supplied rugs to Expo Design Centers in the United States on a consignment basis as part of the Hanging Rug Partnership Program.

Under the program, unsold rugs were to be discontinued after 12 months and bought by Expo Design Center at a discounted price, said Bashian. When the program was recently terminated with Bashian Bros., Expo Design Center allegedly failed and refused to pay for the rugs which it was obligated to purchase pursuant the program.

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