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Retail Briefs

Big Lots Results Yield New Outlook

Big Lots Inc. raised its guidance for the fourth-quarter earnings per diluted share (based on continuing operations) to $0.62 to $0.67, compared to the $0.33 recorded for the quarter in 2005.

The 1,400-store closeout giant reported third-quarter net income of $1.7 million, beating the net loss of $18.8 million for the same period one year ago. Net sales grew 5.9% to $1.05 billion, up from $991.4 million last year. Comp sales increased 5.8% for the quarter.

Federated Selling Bridal Unit

Federated Department Stores will sell its Bridal Group in two separate transactions totaling $850 million in cash. An affiliate of Los Angeles-based Leonard Green & Partners will buy the 269-store David's Bridal and 10-store Priscilla of Boston businesses for approximately $750 million. Houston-based Men's Wearhouse will acquire the 511-store After Hours Formalwear business, which includes Mr. Tux stores in New England, for approximately $100 million. Both deals will close in the first quarter of 2007.

Investors to Buy Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer will be acquired by a holding company formed by Sun Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital for cash and debt assumption totaling approximately $614 million.

Sun Capital's portfolio includes Mervyn's, ShopKo Stores, Lillian Vernon, Marsh Supermarkets, Anchor Blue Retail Group, Dim Branded Apparel, and Most. Golden Gate Capital's current investments include Herbalife; Eye Care Centers of America; and Catalog Holdings, a $1.1 billion revenue direct marketer of women's apparel whose brands include Spiegel, Newport News, Appleseed's, and Norm Thompson.

In soft home, Eddie Bauer home textiles are produced by JLA through a licensing agreement.

Wal-Mart Names Corbett to Board

Wal-Mart Stores has appointed Roger Corbett, former group managing director of Woolworths Ltd. in Australia, to its board of directors. He will serve on the strategic planning and finance committee. Corbett joined Woolworths in 1990 after serving five years as director of retail and director of operations with David Jones (Australia). He began his career with Grace Brothers (later Coles Myer) in 1961, remaining with that company until 1984.

Gottschalks Drops Pacific Exchange

Gottschalks said it will "reduce expenses and eliminate duplicative regulatory and administrative burdens" by withdrawing its common stock listing on the NYSE Arca (formerly the Pacific Stock Exchange), while maintaining its listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The Western regional retailer does not believe the action will have any impact on the liquidity of its stock. Gottschalks recently announced that its board of directors had formed a special committee to explore strategic alternatives.

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