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Retail Briefs

Williams-Sonoma Tests Threads

Williams-Sonoma Inc. held a grand opening for its second Threads store, in New York on Nov. 3. Sited at Second Avenue and 76th Street in a former Hold Everything space, the mix is mainly apparel and gifts for infants and kids. Threads is a spin-off from Pottery Barn Kids; the first test store opened last month in Bellevue, Wash. Williams-Sonoma execs have said they don't currently plan to add to the store base.

Green Bay to Build Shopko Landing

The Shopko Foundation is the first big private sponsor of the Green Bay CityDeck, a four-block-long boardwalk that is planned to key development of piers, a park, restaurants and residences along the Fox River in downtown Green Bay, Wis. Shopko's sponsorship will provide redevelopment funding for the northern portion of the CityDeck to be named Shopko Landing. “We are delighted to assist the city in bringing to life this previously untapped riverfront asset,” said Michael MacDonald, chairman and ceo of Shopko.

Better Terms in New LNT Credit Line

Specialty retailer Linens 'n Things entered into a new $700 million credit agreement with GE Capital Markets, replacing its old $700 million facility with UBS Securities. LNT said the new deal has “materially improved terms” — including “increases in its advance rates on inventory and accounts receivable for its borrowing base computation as well as the elimination of all financial maintenance covenants.” The 580-store retailer said liquidity position will be “significantly enhanced.”

Family Dollar Authorizes Buyback

Neighborhood discounter Family Dollar authorized a $150 million stock buyback, augmenting the share repurchase program begun in October 2002. During the fiscal year ending Sept.1, 2007, it bought about 8.2 million shares for $257.5 million, and during September purchased the remaining 2.9 million shares available under previous authorizations.

The 6,400-store chain named Harvey Morgan as an independent director bringing the board up to nine members, seven of whom are independent. Morgan is a managing director of Bentley Associates, an investment banking firm; he has more than 30 years of investment banking experience. His previous board experience includes: Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation, Clayton Homes and Rag Shops.

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