OPERATIONS

Aaron’s names interim chief to replace retiring CEO

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Atlanta — Rent-to-own chain Aaron’s, Inc. has named its current CFO Gilbert L. Danielson to the position of interim chief executive officer, following the retirement of current CEO Ronald W. Allen on Aug. 31.

Danielson will also retain his CFO responsibilities during the interim period and will not be a candidate for the permanent CEO role, said the company. A formal search, led by Spencer Stuart, is underway and includes a review of both internal and external candidates.

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FINANCE

Ex-Aeropostale exec gets eight years prison sentence over kickbacks

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Christopher Finazzo, former executive VP and chief merchandising officer for Aeropostale, has been sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of defrauding the company and taking more than $25 million in kickbacks from a key vendor.

Finazzo, who was found guilty in April 2013 of 14 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy, was also ordered to forfeit more than $25 million and pay the company $13.7 million in restitution.

Prosecutors said Finazzo entered into an illegal deal with Douglas Dey, a movie producer and the owner of South Bay Apparel, a firm that was once a major clothing supplier for Aeropostale. Under the deal, Finazzo from 1996 to 2006 allegedly caused the company to buy more than $350 million in T-shirt and fleece items from South Bay on behalf of Aeropostale in exchange for about 50% of the vendor’s profits.

Prosecutors said the scheme enabled Finazzo to collect more than $25 million in kickbacks from South Bay.

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FINANCE

Dollar Tree profit dips in second quarter

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Dollar Tree Inc. reported that net income in the second quarter dipped 2.6% to $121.5 million, from $124.7 million a year earlier, amid higher freight costs and investments in higher-value products.

Revenue rose 9.5% to $2.03 billion, and same-store sales increased 4.5%, beating Wall Street estimates of a 2.5% rise. It was the chain’s26th consecutive quarter of positive comparable store sales growth.

“I am very pleased with our second quarter results,” CEO Bob Sasser said. “Expanded assortments of high-value product contributed to our strongest quarterly comparable store sales performance in two years. Pet supplies, hardware, household products, food, electronics and party goods all performed well in the quarter. Our 4.5% comp sales resulted from increases in both customer traffic and average ticket.”

The company opened 90 stores, expanded or relocated 20 stores and closed four stores during the quarter.

Early this week, Dollar General bid $78.50 for Family Dollar Monday morning in a $9.7 billion deal that exceeds the $74.50 a share Dollar Tree offered for Family Dollar back on July 28. But on Thursday, Family Dollar’s board of directors has unanimously rejected the non-binding proposal made by Dollar General on the basis of antitrust regulatory considerations.

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