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Retail briefs

Wal-Mart bullish on remainder of 2004

Wal-Mart's chief executive said he remains positive about the outlook for 2004, despite some concerns about high gas prices.

In recorded remarks about the company's first quarter performance, Lee Scott noted that elevated gas prices take $7 a week out of the average Wal-Mart customer's disposable income. However, he said, he believes that growth in employment and real income will lessen the impact.

Scott also foresees a reversal in the deflationary trend thanks to higher commodity and raw material costs.

"Currently, general merchandise for the quarter is still down from prior year in total, but the deflation rate is significantly reduced, and we could see minor inflation in general merchandise by year-end," he added. "Food inflation is currently above last year's rate, but still modest."

Target to summer in the Hamptons

Target is taking the temporary store format it has occasionally visited upon Manhattan out to the Hamptons this summer, with the opening of a concept it calls "a one-stop resource for all things summer."

The Bullseye Inn will open at the Bull's Head Inn, 2546 Montauk Highway, in Bridgehampton, N.Y., from May 28 through July 4. Hours of operation will be Saturday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday and Friday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The home-oriented store will feature several of Target's captive brands, including Swell by Cynthia Rowley & Ilene Rosenzweig and Simply Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell. Product assortments will run the gamut in home textiles: bedding, bath, table linens, and window treatments. In addition, Target will offer outdoor living goods, including garden implements, grills and barbecue accessories, backyard games, beach towels, and patio furniture.

Home Depot goes south of the border

The Home Depot has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Home Mart, the second largest Mexican home improvement retailer.

The transaction is subject to approval by the Mexican regulatory authorities and customary closing conditions; financial terms were not disclosed.

When the acquisition is completed, Home Depot will acquire 20 Home Mart locations, bringing its total store count in Mexico to 39 stores.

Home Mart will add significant new locations for Home Depot, including prominence in Mexico City and a store base in seven new markets, and enhance its position in a nearly $15 billion market, stated the company.

"We look forward to offering product innovations, compelling store presentations, and exceptional service to even more customers in Mexico," said Frank Blake, executive vice president of business development and corporate operations.

Overstock to raise $36 million

Overstock.com, Inc. expects to raise approximately $36.6 million from its auction-based underwritten public offering of 1.2 million shares of common stock at a price of $30.50 per share.

Subject to customary closing conditions, Overstock.com will receive net proceeds of approximately $35.3 million from the offering under its existing shelf registration statement. The underwriters have an option to purchase up to an additional 100,000 shares to cover over-allotments, if any, stated the company.

WR Hambrecht + Co LLC acted as the sole book-running manager. JMP Securities LLC acted as co-lead manager. The offering was made through WR Hambrecht + Co's OpenFollowOns auction process.

Overstock.com anticipates using the net proceeds of the offering primarily for general corporate purposes and working capital requirements, including sales and marketing activities and inventory purchases.

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