FINANCE

Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie announce completion of merger

BY Rozanne Gelbinovich

Jacksonville, Fla. — Bi-Lo has announced that it has successfully completed its merger with Winn-Dixie Stores. The two banners now will be subsidiaries of privately held parent company Bi-Lo Holding. Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie will continue to operate under the same banners, and the company said it does not expect any store closures as a result of the merger.

“With the merger of Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie now complete, we can begin delivering on this exciting combination for the benefit of our customers, team members and communities,” said Randall Onstead, CEO and president of Bi-Lo Holding. “Together, we are a stronger company that will be focused on meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations by offering even greater value with the service and shopping experience that they have come to expect.”

The company eventually will be headquartered in Jacksonville, which is centrally located within its eight-state operating area.

On Dec. 19, 2011, Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie announced that the companies had entered into a definitive agreement under which Bi-Lo would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Winn-Dixie stock. As a result of the completion of the merger, Winn-Dixie’s common stock has been delisted from Nasdaq.

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Zale names head of Piercing Pagoda

BY CSA STAFF

DALLAS — Zale Corp. has named Jamie Singleton SVP and general manager of Piercing Pagoda, effective March 27. In this role, Singleton will have overall responsibility for the company’s kiosk business and will report to Theo Killion, CEO.

“We are delighted to welcome Jamie to our team. She is an experienced retail executive with a diverse set of skills that includes merchandising and business development,” said Killion. “Jamie has a strong track record of maximizing opportunities for profitable growth. She will be instrumental in helping us grow the Pagoda brand.”

Singleton most recently served as SVP business expansion at CPI Corp. where she led the integration of Bella Pictures Inc., an internet-based wedding photography company. Prior to that, she served in a senior management capacity at Custom Brands International Inc. and as SVP general merchandising manager at May Bridal Group.

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Sales growth at Urban Outfitters not enough to meet expectations

BY CSA STAFF

PHILADELPHIA — Urban Outfitters saw profit for the fourth quarter fall to $39.3 million, from $75.2 million a year earlier. Sales rose 9% to $730.6 million, missing Wall Street’s expected $740 million in revenue.

The operator of Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters stores said heavy discounting over the holidays took a big toll on margins; in fact, margins have declined for at least five quarters as the retailer has made major markdowns to clear out slow-moving merchandise.

“I am pleased that we managed our inventories to appropriate levels at year-end even though our margins during the quarter suffered as a result,” CEO Richard Hayne said in a statement.

Same-store sales for the quarter dipped 1%.

Last year, Urban Outfitters opened 57 stores and said it is planning comparable expansion for 2013. In its conference call with investors on Monday, the company said it plans to open 55 to 60 new stores in fiscal 2013, with 13 of those slated to open in the first quarter.

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