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Circuit City to Liquidate

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Bankrupt retailer Circuit City Stores said on Friday it will liquidate its assets after it failed to reach a deal with creditors and lenders regarding a potential sale of the company.

“We are extremely disappointed by this outcome. The company had been in continuous negotiations regarding a going concern transaction. Regrettably for the more than 30,000 employees of Circuit City and our loyal customers, we were unable to reach an agreement with our creditors and lenders to structure a going concern transaction in the limited time frame available, and so this is the only possible path for our company,” said James A. Marcum, vice chairman and acting president and CEO, Circuit City Stores, Inc.

Circuit City filed for Chapter 11 protection in November, citing a deteriorating cash position and tighter terms from vendors. It has liquidated and closed 155 stores, and now has about 567 U.S. stores.

Circuit City will ask the court for approval to close its remaining 567 stores and sell all its merchandise. The company said the sale would begin Saturday and run until March 31, pending court approval, Reuters reported.

The chain has struggled behind Best Buy Inc. and faced increased New York City competition from other store chains, such as discounter Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Best Buy shares rose 1.5% on Friday after the Circuit City announcement.

Last week, the retailer received bankruptcy court approval to proceed with an auction to sell the company. At the time, Circuit City said it was in talks with two undisclosed parties that could either buy the company or provide additional financing.

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Walmart offers $9 smoking cessation kits

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart announced this week that as part of its Operation Main Street initiative, it will offer a smoking cessation prescription starter pack for $9. According to Walmart the $9 starter pack of bupropion ER 150mg is the lowest priced on the market and the generic equivalent of Zyban. The starter pack is available at Walmart, Neighborhood Market and Sam’s Club pharmacies in a 17-tablet, 10-day supply.

“Times are tight right now, and Walmart is committed to helping our customers maintain their healthy lifestyles in both good economic times and bad,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, Walmart SVP and president of health and wellness. “With our affordable smoking cessation offerings, we’re hopeful that smokers who are committed to quitting will be able to get the tools they need to stop smoking and still be able to afford everyday household items so they can live better.”

The health community applauded Walmart for its efforts in helping smokers find affordable ways to quit.

“The public health community has long recognized that the cost of either cigarettes or smoking cessation medications has served as a determining factor for smokers to continue smoking or finally to decide to quit,” said Cheryl Healton, Dr. P.H., president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation. “This move by Walmart to provide science-based smoking cessation therapies that smokers can more easily afford is a huge step forward in helping millions of smokers finally quit for good. We applaud Walmart and hope other retailers will follow their example. It can only result in longer, healthier lives.”

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Steinhafel named chairman of Target

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel, will assume the additional role of chairman of the board, effective Feb. 1. Steinhafel succeeds Bob Ulrich, who will retire from the board, as previously announced, at the end of the 2008 fiscal year. The board also announced that Ulrich will be designated chairman emeritus in recognition of his many significant contributions.

Steinhafel joined Target in 1979 and served in a variety of merchandising positions until being named EVP of merchandising in 1994. He was promoted to president of Target in 1999 and became a member of the board of directors in 2007. Steinhafel succeeded Ulrich as CEO of Target in May 2008.

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