OPERATIONS

Changing Hands

BY CSA STAFF

It’s been a busy summer for the nation’s retail chains in terms of acquisitions. Here’s an update on the latest transactions:

Limited Brands Inc. took a major step in its transformation to a lingerie- and beauty products-focused retailer by selling a 75% stake in its core Limited Store division to Sun Capital Partners. Sun Capital will leave the chain’s current management team in place.

In related news, Limited Brands closed on an agreement to sell a 75% stake in its other apparel brand, Express, to Golden Gate Capital for $602 million in cash. The firm named Michael Weiss as CEO of Express. Weiss led the chain from its start in 1980 until his retirement, in 2004.

The Container Store sold the majority of its stock to Leonard Green & Partners, a Los Angeles-based private-equity firm. The Dallas-based retailer stressed that the company’s unique culture would remain in place under its new ownership.

After being put on the selling block by owner Jones Apparel Group, Barneys New York found itself being pursued by two overseas firms. In June, Jones entered into an agreement to sell Barneys to Istithmar, a Dubai-based private-equity company, for $825 million in cash. Shortly afterward, Jones received an $896 million unsolicited bid from Tokyo-based Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo casual-clothing chain. At presstime, Jones was providing financial information to Fast Retailing.

Guitar Center accepted a $1.9 billion cash buyout offer from affiliates of Bain Capital Partners, Boston. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

The Home Depot agreed to sell its supply division, HD Supply, to three private-equity firms—Bain Capital, Carlyle Group and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice—in a roughly $10 billion deal.

Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts Co. (KKR) completed its $7.3 billion acquisition of Dollar General Corp.

Federal antitrust regulators approved Payless ShoeSource’s proposed $800 million purchase of children’s footwear maker Stride Rite Corp. Payless will change its name to Collective Branding Inc., and will operate as a holding company that will run the Payless and Stride Rite chains separately.

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Coca-Cola names chief marketer

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA The Coca-Cola Company has appointed Joseph Tripodi to the position of chief marketing and commercial officer, reporting to president and coo Muhtar Kent. Most recently, Tripodi was the senior vp and chief marketing officer for Allstate Insurance Co., where he was responsible for the structure, strategy and execution of all of their marketing efforts.

In his role, Tripodi will lead a new function consisting of the combination of the company’s global marketing and commercial organizations. In addition to overseeing all aspects of marketing, he will be responsible for coordinating and leading the company’s strategic direction in commercial leadership.

Prior to joining Allstate in 2003, Tripodi was chief marketing officer for The Bank of New York. He served as chief marketing officer for Seagram Spirits & Wine Group from 1999 to 2002. From 1989 to 1998, he was the evp for global marketing, products and services for MasterCard International, where among other achievements he was a chief architect of the acclaimed “Priceless” campaign. Previously, he spent seven years with the Mobil Oil Corp., where he gained considerable international experience in roles of increasing responsibility in planning, marketing, business development and operations in New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Guam.

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Whole Foods takes top spot on EPA list

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON Whole Foods Market took the top spot this quarter on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Top 10 Retail Partners in its Green Power Partnership program. Other major retailers on the list include Kohl’s (2), Staples (4), Lowe’s (6) and Office Depot.

According to its profile on the EPA Web site, currently, Whole Foods Market is purchasing or generating 100% of its total national power load from green power sources.

The Top 10 Retail Partners in the Green Power Partnership is released quarterly and represents the largest completed annual green power purchases of all Retail Partners within the Green Power Partnership. According to the EPA, the combined green power purchases of these organizations amounts to an estimated 1.4 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually, which is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 140,000 average American homes each year.

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