FINANCE

Charming Shoppes to close 240 stores

BY CSA STAFF

Bensalem, Pa. — Charming Shoppes said it would close 240 unprofitable stores in 2011, or nearly 12% of its total outlets, and that more than half of those would be Fashion Bug stores.

The locations were not disclosed.

The company said all 30 of its Catherines Plus Sizes stores in outlet locations would be shuttered over a two-year period.

The store closing news came on the heels of the retailer’s announcement it had named interim CEO Anthony M. Romano as president and CEO, replacing James P. Fogarty, who retired in October.

The company, which operates 2,064 stores in 48 states, lost $30.4 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $28 million in last year’s fourth quarter.

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REAL ESTATE

Walmart to expand to supercenter in Liberty Square Center

BY CSA STAFF

Burlington, N.J. — Purchase, N.Y.-based National Realty & Development Corp. said Monday it will expand Liberty Square Center in Burlington, N.J. The construction will take place over the next 12 months and is scheduled to be completed in spring 2012.

Walmart will expand to a Supercenter in the shopping center, increasing its square footage from 121,480 sq. ft. to 186,714 sq. ft., including a new garden center. Party City will be relocating to a larger store within the center and will open in June. New tenant Anna’s Linens has also leased a 6,321-sq.-ft. unit and plans to open this summer.

The 374,692-sq.-ft. Liberty Square Center is anchored by Walmart, Marshalls, Toys ‘R’ Us and Acme.

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FINANCE

Home Depot plans $2 billion of debt to build cash, buy stock

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta — Home Depot said Monday it is returning to the corporate bond market for the second time in less than seven months to rebuild its cash stockpile and finance share buybacks.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company plans to sell 10- and 30-year bonds. It is offering $1 billion of each maturity.

Home Depot is replacing $1 billion of 5.2% notes issued in 2006 that matured March 1, and raising money to buy its own stock. The notes may be sold as soon as Monday.

Moody’s Investors Service changed the retailer’s outlook to positive on March 25, citing the “expectation that the size of Home Depot’s remaining share authorization will shrink over the near term,” it said in a statement.

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