FINANCE

Christopher & Banks to Shutter Acorn Division

BY CSA STAFF

Minneapolis Christopher & Banks Corp. on Thursday announced that, after an extensive internal review, it plans to exit its Acorn division business by Dec. 31, 2008.

“With only 36 stores and an operating loss in fiscal 2008 of more than $4 million, including store and corporate administrative expenses, and a charge of more than $10 million for long-lived asset and goodwill impairment, our board and senior management concluded that further investment would not be in the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” Lorna Nagler, CEO, Christopher & Banks, said in a statement.

The company will close all 36 Acorn stores in 14 states. The closures will impact approximately 80 full-time and 200 part-time positions, or approximately 4% of the company’s total work force.

Christopher & Banks anticipates pre-tax expenses associated with the closing of the stores to range from approximately $7 million to $10 million. On an after-tax basis, the charges are expected to range from approximately $4.2 million to $6.0 million, with charges to be taken in the second, third and fourth quarters of fiscal 2009.

Going forward, the company said its focus will be on its two core brands, Christopher & Banks and C.J. Banks.

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Spartan Stores 1Q sales up 12.8%

BY CSA STAFF

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores reported that net sales for the first quarter increased 12.8% to $586.7 million from $520.2 million in last year’s first quarter.

Net earnings for the quarter increased 52.2% to $9.9 million, or 46 cents per diluted share, from $6.5 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, in the same period last year.

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Fresh & Easy opens 20th store in Phoenix

BY CSA STAFF

PHOENIX Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has opened its 20th store in Phoenix, bringing its total number of U.S. stores to 67.

Fresh & Easy also announced four upcoming store openings in the Phoenix area, including the grocer’s first in Tempe, Ariz.

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