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Big Lots completes Liquidation World purchase, makes exec appointments

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Columbus, Ohio — Big Lots announced Tuesday that it has completed its acquisition of Brantford, Ontario-based Liquidation World, representing Big Lots’ first foothold outside of the United States.

Closeout retailer Liquidation World currently operates 89 stores in Canada.

"Today we have taken a significant step forward in positioning Big Lots for sustainable long-term growth as we expand beyond our borders and enter the Canadian marketplace,” said Steve Fishman, chairman, CEO and president of Big Lots. “We now have an immediate footprint in Canada with 89 stores, an existing infrastructure, and a dedicated team of over 1,000 associates at Liquidation World and we welcome them to the Big Lots family.”

Big Lots announced two executive-level appointments in conjunction with the acquisition. Joe R. Cooper has been named president of Big Lots Canada while retaining his responsibilities as executive VP and CFO of Big Lots.

Timothy A. Johnson has been promoted to senior VP finance and appointed to the company’s executive committee.

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Survey: Fewer people applying for retail jobs

BY Marianne Wilson

Chemsford, Mass. –Fewer people applied for jobs in the retail sector in June, according to the July Kronos Retail Labor Index. The July report includes data for June 2011.

The number of applications received by retailers in the Kronos sample fell sharply in June 2011, to just 900,164 from a revised 1,149,879 in May, all on a seasonally adjusted basis. This was the lowest number of applications received since November 2007 and nearly 17% below its level one year ago.

“While hiring did decline in June, it remains well above levels seen near the end of the recession and during the early recovery period,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, which prepares the analysis and write-up for the Kronos report.

Varvares noted that the recovery in hiring has slowed in recent months, with firms hiring just 6% more workers in June than they did this time last year.

“This is reflective of the deceleration in total payrolls seen nationally the past few months, as well as the recent slowing in the growth of retail sales,” he said. “We look for these trends to reverse, with both payrolls and retail sales expected to accelerate over the second half of this year."

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Report: Liz Claiborne in talks to sell Mexx

BY Staff Writer

New York — Liz Claiborne Inc. is looking to sell its Mexx apparel brand to a private-equity firm, according to Bloomberg. Leonard Green & Partners, Sun Capital and Golden Gate Capital are among the firms that have shown an interested in Mexx, the report said.

Final bids are due within a few weeks with a sale expected to be completed in September, Bloomberg said.

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