January 7, 2002-- Home Textiles Today,
Service Merchandise to cease operation
Though it exceeded business plan expectations in the two years prior to 2001, Service Merchandise announced that the loss of consumer confidence and soft economy last year have weakened its financial and liquidity position, precluding the company to emerge from Chapter 11 and instead it will cease operations. The specialty retailer of fine jewelry, gifts and home decor added that it cancelled vendor orders and would cut half its workforce of 1,005 employees in the corporate, distribution and sales support functions during the remainder of January to preserve value for its creditors. Going-out-of-business sales at more than 200 stores in 32 states will commence on Jan. 19.
Lazarus to close three locations
The Rich's/Lazarus/Goldsmith's division of Federated has announced that it plans to close three under-performing Lazarus stores in early 2002. The closings are part of the company's strategic refocus on markets and locations that have higher future growth potential. The Lazarus stores affected are in Indianapolis and Lafayette, IN, and Zanesville, OH, totaling 190 employees. The three stores will honor their return and exchange policies through the end of January.
Sears ratings upgraded
Prudential Securities retail analyst Wayne Hood raised his 2002 earnings outlook for Sears Roebuck and Co. this past Friday, citing increased confidence in the retailer's recent restructuring initiatives. He raised his estimate to $4.80 a share from $4.40, and his price target on Sears stock to $65 from $60. He also expected Sears' fourth quarter earnings, due on Jan. 17, could exceed the consensus Wall Street estimate of $1.90 per share.
Home Depot International president resigns
The Home Depot has announced the resignation of Anders Moberg, president of the international division, effective January 25. Moberg joined company in March 1999 and oversaw the company's Canadian, Mexican and South American operations.