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Retail briefs

Kmart magic number: 284

As part of its initial Chapter 11 financial objectives review, Kmart announced last week that it will close 284 underperforming locations, resulting in the reduction of approximately 22,000 associate positions. The stores include 271 Kmart discount stores and 12 Kmart Supercenter retail outlets in 40 states, and one store in Puerto Rico. They will remain open pending approval of the store-closing plan by the bankruptcy court and thereafter until the related store-closing inventory sales are completely on a store-by-store basis. Kmart anticipates that the liquidation sales generated from store closings and related cost savings will enhance its cash flow by approximately $550 million in 2002 and approximately $45 million annually thereafter. The closings are also expected to improve the company's earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation by about $31 million annually. The retailer currently has more than 2,100 locations.

NYC to become Expo-sed

Home Depot's Expo Design Center will bow its first store in New York on March 16, with a 105,000-square-foot location in Jackson Heights, Queens. Customers will be able to shop the store's themed showrooms and take advantage of Expo's turnkey approach to interior design and home renovation. The new Expo joins 10 New York Home Depot locations.

HSN 'discovers' Christopher Lowell

The host of the Discovery Channel's "The Christopher Lowell Show" is bringing his design methods to the Home Shopping Network with the launch of a one-hour program on March 28. As Christopher Lowell redesigns a bedroom, viewers will be able to buy the items needed to complete each project, including bedding, borders, paint, pillows and accessories. The show will air about four times a year, HSN said. All shows will pair Lowell's step-by-step instruction with one-stop shopping. HSN said that the first few shows will include product from Lowell's existing line, some of which is sold by other retailers, such as Luxury Linens, as well as product exclusive to HSN, such as his paint. HSN is developing new products for Lowell and consequent programs will offer more and more HSN-exclusive product.

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