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Retail briefs

Fingerhut principles explore options

The future of Fingerhut remains undecided as several business plans for the assets of the catalog operation, purchased by Thomas Petters and former Fingerhut executive Theodore Deikel from Federated Department Stores in July, are being evaluated. According to Mary Pernula, spokeswoman for co-owner Deikel, there has been no date set for when a decision would be made.

The assets included in the transaction were the distribution center and other facilities in St. Cloud, MN; the Minnetonka, MN, corporate headquarters; the data center in Plymouth, MN; the distribution center facility in Piney Flats, TN; and the Fingerhut name, customer lists, website and existing inventory.

Lowe's plans state-of-the-art facility

Looking to improve its distribution infrastructure, Lowe's Companies Inc. announced plans to construct a state-of-the-art flatbed center in Grand Ledge, MI. The $13.6 million, 186,000-square-feet facility will service approximately 100 retail stores through the central United States and will employ more than 30 people.

Brylane workers get support from labor board

Brylane employees scored a victory of sorts when Region 25 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that there will not be a secret ballot election for union representation at the company's distribution facilities here. The company had requested an election but the NLRB's decision reaffirms workers' rights to choose union representation without employer interference.

The National Labor Relations Act allows workers to pursue an election or card-check process to determine union representation. Since October, Brylane workers have been organizing with the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees. Employees chose to pursue a neutral card-check process that would allow the employer to recognize their demand for union representation by verifying if there is a majority of signed union cards.

Kmart debuts Hispanic magazine

Further amplifying its multi-cultural marketing initiative, Kmart has launched the inaugural issue of La Vida magazine, an entertainment and lifestyle magazine designed to appeal to the Hispanic community. The Sept. 15 issue, which comes on the heels of the company's first Spanish-language weekly ad circular, blends product offerings from Kmart and includes entertainment news and artist profiles. The first issue features Latin salsa artist Marc Anthony on the cover. The company expects the magazine to reach more than 10 million Spanish-speaking consumers in the United States each month.

Jo-Ann debuts school program

Jo-Ann Stores is offering a new program designed to promote creativity in the classroom. Its new Teachers Appreciation Program makes educators eligible for a new Teacher Discount Card, which enables them to purchase both sales and non-sale classroom and project supplies at a 10 percent discount for the entire 2002-2003 school year. The program also offers discount coupons on school supplies at Jo-Ann Stores. In addition, educators will receive a special registration coupon for additional one-time savings on purchases and an "extra credit" savings coupon when they shop with a colleague.

Value City looks to build brand

In an effort to re-energize and further develop its brand image, Value City Department Stores has hired Cliff Freeman and Partners. The New York-based agency has been involved in brand development, repositioning and sales building strategies for such brands as Little Caesers Pizza, Budget Car Rental and Staples Office Supplies.

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