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Retail Briefs

Macy's Buys Back $686M Debt Notes

Declaring it had successfully completed its cash tender offer for two issues of senior debt notes that are to come due later this year, Macy's Inc. said the "aggregate consideration for the notes accepted for purchase, plus accrued and unpaid interest" was about $685.7 million. Prior to the offer, the total aggregate principal outstanding on the two sets of notes was $950 million. Macy's said retiring these notes early (the transaction took place on Feb. 11) will cut about $7.0 million in interest expense during 2009.

Exciting Windows Adds Retailer Group

Seven retailers of window fashions with combined sales of $40 million have banded as a co-op group under the Exciting Windows national design and merchandising business, which already has some 70 member retailers. "We've attracted seven large dealers, whose annual sales figures range from $3 to $6 million, to come together and be more competitive and dominant in their markets by continuing to work under their existing name and control their company's operations, but adding the Exciting Windows brand of service," said Steven Bursten, ceo of Exciting Windows.

Carl Movrich of Drapery Connection in Downers Grove, Ill.; Bruce Heyman of Metropolitan Window Fashions in North Plainfield, N.J.; Steve & Cheri Roellchen of One-Stop Decorating in Kansas City, Mo.; Will Bathke of Aero Drapery in Minneapolis; Jeff Kaplan of Innu Window in Natick, Mass.; Ken McWilliams of ABC Blinds in Austin, Texas; and Mike O'Daniel of Arizona Blinds in Peoria, Ariz. are the new Exciting Windows members.

Lowe's 2008 Net Down, 2009 Tough

Home improvement retailer Lowe's Companies, Inc. recorded a 60.3% profit decline, to $162 million for the fourth quarter. Diluted EPS of 11 cents was down 60.7%. For the full fiscal year ended January 30, Lowe's saw a 21.9% earnings fall off, to $2.20 billion, with EPS down 19.9% to $1.49. Sales in Q4 fell 3.8% to $9.98 billion, with full year sales off just 0.1% to $48.2 billion. The comp story: down 9.9% in the quarter, down 7.2% for all of 2008.

Robert Niblock, chairman and ceo, acknowledged that comps in the quarter fell below expectations and hurt earnings. "However," he stated, "in this challenging sales environment and throughout this prolonged industry downturn, we are continuing to capture market share, which is evidence of our compelling product offering and commitment to customer service."

Lowe's plans to open up to 70 new stores in 2009, and projected EPS of $1.04 to $1.20 for the year.

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