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Retail Briefs

Pier 1 Seeks Girouard Replacement

Pier 1 Imports chairman and ceo Marvin Girouard said he will retire from the 1,200-store home furnishings retailing company and its board of directors, effective Feb. 28, 2007. “I feel that it is time for me to leave in the course of a normal retirement and allow new leadership to emerge and flourish,” said Girouard. He has been with the company for 32 years. New York-based Herbert Mines Associates has been retained to conduct the search for a new ceo. For fiscal 2006, ended Feb. 25, 2006, Pier 1 recorded a net loss of $39.8 million, a net loss from continuing operations of $27.5 million, and a comp-store drop of 7.1% on sales of $1.8 billion.

Federated Closes L & T Sale

Federated Department Stores completed its sale of Lord & Taylor to NRDC Equity Partners of Purchase, N.Y. for a price adjusted to $1.083 billion, lowered from the initial figure of $1.195, the company said, to reflect Federated's agreement “to sublease to NRDC certain properties due to restrictions in the leases.” The L & T division includes 48 stores in 9 Northeastern states and the District of Columbia, as well as a distribution center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Belk Completes Parisian Acquisition

Belk Inc. has completed the purchase of Parisian from Saks Inc. for about $285 million in cash. The deal included 38 stores, a Birmingham, Ala. headquarters, and the Steele, Ala. distribution center. The purchase makes Belk the largest privately owned department store company in the United States, with 276 Belk stores and 38 Parisian stores in 19 states.

Tim Belk, chairman and ceo of Belk, Inc., called the buy “a great strategic fit for Belk that will strengthen our competitive advantage in many key markets and substantially expand our customer base.” Store integration is expected to take approximately 24 months and the company plans to re-brand the acquired stores as Belk in the third quarter of 2007.

Stein Mart Offers GE Credit Card

Stein Mart will launch a credit card co-branded with GE Retail Consumer Finance by the end of October, the companies said. Michael Fisher, president and ceo of Stein Mart, said, “As our customer accumulates points on the new Platinum Rewards Card, her Stein Mart purchases will become an even more attractive value.” The contract is a multi-year agreement between the consumer lending division of General Electric and the 260-store Southeastern regional retailer.

JCPenney Accelerates Store Openings

JCPenney opened 20 stores in 13 states on Friday Oct. 6, a move chairman and ceo Mike Ullman called the start of “the most aggressive store opening program in more than 25 years.” The company said it plans at least 50 new stores annually through 2009. Nearly all will be off-mall units, which have been “generating higher sales per square foot than our mall-based stores and more frequent visits by customers,” Ullman said.

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