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Brown Shoe feels impact of exiting brands

BY Staff Writer

St. Louis — Brown Shoe Company Inc. reported a net loss and declining net sales in first quarter 2013 as the company cited the impact of having exited some businesses in the past year.

The retailer experienced a net loss of $10.8 million, compared to net earnings of $1.7 million a year earlier. Net sales declined about 1% to $588.7 million from $598.2 million.

However, Brown Shoe said that taking $10.4 million in net sales from exited brands during the first quarter of last year into account, net sales actually slightly improved this year.

“We saw improved consumer conversion related to our strategic real estate, inventory and omni-channel efforts,” said Diane Sullivan, president and CEO of Brown Shoe Company. “At wholesale, we refined our portfolio, with the recent sale of Avia and Nevados, and we intend to use the related proceeds in our 2013 debt reduction efforts.”

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PriceGrabber: Father’s Day gets practical

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – A survey from online shopping site PriceGrabber indicates U.S. consumers are leaning toward practical Father’s Day gifts this year. Almost four-in-10 (38%) consumers plan to purchase practical Father’s Day presents this year, such as tools, auto accessories or appliances.

Nearly one-fifth of respondents (18%) are planning to shop for a tech-type gift such as a computer, tablet or smartphone. Forty-five percent of men plan to buy a practical gift, compared to 33% of women.

Other findings indicate that more than half of respondents (55%) will spend less than $100 this year, while 23% will spend between $100 and $249, 12% will spend more than $250 and 10% do not have a budget. About six-in-10 consumers (59%) will purchase gifts online.

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Bi-Lo in $265 million deal to buy Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s from Delhaize

BY Marianne Wilson

Jacksonville, Fla. — Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of the Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie grocery store brands, has entered into an agreement to buy three chains from Belgium-based Delhaize Group. Bi-Lo said it would acquire substantially all of the stores in the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarket chains from Delhaize for $265 million in cash.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, includes 72 Sweetbay stores, leases for 10 prior Sweetbay locations, 72 Harveys stores and 11 Reid’s stores, for a total of 165 stores and 10,000 employees throughout the Southeast. Bi-Lo Holdings already operates 686 stores.

"Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s are well-recognized and trusted businesses that share our passion for exceptional service," Bi-Lo Holdings president and CEO Randall Onstead said. "We look forward to welcoming the outstanding associates of all three chains to the Bi-Lo Winn-Dixie family."

The transaction is anticipated to close in fourth quarter 2013.

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