Anna's to expand after cash infusion

Costa Mesa, CA — Anna's Linens last week sold a 25 percent stake in the company to Rosewood Capital for $25 million dollars, giving the 80-store retailer sufficient investment dollars to ramp up openings dramatically over the next three years while maintaining a debt-free balance sheet, according to Anna's president Alan Gladstone.

"There are only two of us out there with no debt," Gladstone said, referring to specialty store sales leader Bed Bath & Beyond, which operates 443 stores. "Growing without debt is going to enable us to make better real estate and merchandising decisions."

With the fresh capital infusion in hand, Anna's now plans to open 120 stores in new and existing markets between 2003 and 2005, with the first 30 of those openings planned for next year. The company opened 12 stores in 2001 and will open 20 by yearend 2002 for a total of 90 stores.

San Francisco-based Rosewood Capital, founded in 1985, invests in consumer and business services companies with profitable growth and revenues between $25 million and $500 million. Its advisory board members include eBay ceo Meg Whitman, Gap chairman Don Fisher and former Lehman Brothers president Warren Hellman. For its investment, Rosewood will be allowed to appoint a director to Anna's board, giving it five members, Gladstone said.

Gladstone remains the majority shareholder in Anna's. Rosewood's 25 percent bought out some earlier investors, a mixture of individual and institutional. Gladstone said the investors received "in excess of 15 times" their investment.

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