FINANCE

Casey’s shareholder urges chain to negotiate takeover offer

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Equity manager ClearBridge Advisors on Monday sent a letter to the board of Casey’s General Stores urging it to negotiate with Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard over its $1.9 billion takeover bid, the Associated Press reported.

The letter stated that it is management’s fiduciary duty to Casey’s shareholders to negotiate with Couche-Tard. ClearBridge Advisors, however, agreed the offer price does not capture the full earnings power of Casey’s or take into account the cost savings and revenue synergies from the combination of the two companies.

In April, Couche-Tard offered $36 a share to buy out the convenience store operator. Casey’s rejected the offer, saying it was too low.

Casey’s also sued the Canadian company, saying it violated U.S. securities laws by manipulating Casey’s stock price during the takeover offer. In response, Couche-Tard took its offer directly to Casey’s shareholders this month and says the lawsuit is without merit and will defend itself.

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Home goods looking good, for some

BY CSA STAFF

The success one retailer has in a given category can oftentimes be an indicator of a rising tide lifting all boats, which is why results last week from Bed Bath & Beyond are of particular interest to Target. The home goods specialist said first-quarter sales for the period ended May 29 increased 13.5% to $1.9 billion and same-store sales increased 8.4%. Earnings per share surged 53% to 52 cents a share.

Target is a major player in the home category, and last year it said the home furnishings and decor category accounted for 19% of total sales of $63.4 billion. As defined by Target, the category includes furniture, lighting, kitchenware, small appliances, home decor, bed and bath, home improvement, automotive and such seasonal merchandise sas patio furniture and holiday decor.

A strong performance by Bed Bath & Beyond is either an indication that the overall category is looking up, despite some significant ongoing difficulties in the housing market, or simply an example of a well-positioned superior operator gaining share from competitors, one of whom is possibly Target. The company has certainly had mixed things to say about the home category during the three month period that overlaps with Bed Bath & Beyond’s first quarter. For example, In May, comps in home were down slightly with a low single digit increase in the decorative home category and softness in housewares. In April, comps were moderately better than the total company decline of 5.9% and were led by a low single digit increase in the decorative home category with the softest performance in seasonal categories. In March, comps in home increased in the mid-to-upper single-digit range with the strongest results in the seasonal categories and weaker performance in housewares.

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Former Ace director dies at 89

BY CSA STAFF

Gregg Ziegler, the past director and vice chairman of Ace Hardware Corp.’s board of directors, was laid to rest last week. He was 89.

The World War II veteran joined the family business, Ziegler’s Ace Hardware, after graduating from college in 1947. He was the recipient of the 1983 Illinois Retail Merchants Association’s Retailer of the Year. Today, Ziegler’s Ace operates 11 locations in Illinois.

According to his obituary in the Chicago Tribune, Ziegler was also an accomplished driver who set the NASCAR record for the Flying Mile event at Daytona Beach in 1960.

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