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Bill Ackman buys 8.9% stake in Family Dollar

BY Staff Writer

Matthews, N.C. — Activist investor William Ackman on Thursday disclosed ownership of an 8.9% stake in Family Dollar, according to a regulatory filing.

The investment makes Ackman and his Pershing Square Capital Management investment fund the largest owner of Family Dollar stock, increasing his holdings from 4.7% to the nearly 9%.

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J. Crew swings to loss in Q1

BY Staff Writer

New York City — J. Crew Group reported Thursday that it lost $29.9 million in the fiscal third quarter, compared to a profit of $44.7 million in the year-ago period.

The apparel retailer said the loss was due to markdowns to clear out excess inventory and charges related to being acquired.

J. Crew went private in March in a $3 billion deal with two private-equity firms.

Revenue dropped 3% to $281.2 million. Same-store sales fell 3%.

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First Data Report: Spending growth slowed in May

BY Staff Writer

Atlanta — A report released Thursday by First Data Corp. said that consumer spending growth slowed in May as concerns about the economy mounted.

According to the First Data SpendTrend analysis for the full month of May 2011, which tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations, year-over-year dollar volume growth slowed to 6.6%, the lowest monthly growth rate in 2011.

Year-over year transaction growth of 5.1% represented the slowest growth over the past 12 months.

Average ticket values increased 1.4% year-over-year in May, a slight uptick from April and the largest increase in over a year. Excluding gasoline stations, average tickets increased 0.5%. Most industries except food/beverage stores and food services/drinking places saw increased average tickets.

“Card spending growth slowed in May,” said Silvio Tavares, senior VP and division manager of First Data Information and Analytics Solutions. “High gas prices and stubbornly high unemployment constrained growth in most merchant categories.”

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