Circuit City in Talks With Two ‘Interested Parties’
Richmond, Va. Circuit City Stores Inc. said Friday it is in talks with two parties that could buy the company or provide additional financing for it to stay in business.
Circuit City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November as it faced pressure from vendors, heightened competition and waning consumer spending. Its Canadian operations filed for similar protection.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Huennekens gave Circuit City permission to begin the process of selling the company’s units or its assets. Circuit City had filed a motion under seal on Monday and an expedited hearing was held Friday.
Circuit City said Friday the “highly motivated and interested parties” it is talking with, which it did not name, are considering providing additional financing to allow the company to sustain operations and restructure.
The parties have substantially completed due diligence, the company said.
Home Depot ends Olympic sponsorship
ATLANTA Home Depot has announced it is ending its multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and discontinuing a program that offered jobs and benefits to American athletes, the Associated Press reported.
The partnership began in 1992 and was worth between $15 million and $20 million during the four-year period ending in 2008.
The 86 athletes currently in the program — who worked flexible schedules depending on their Olympic training — will be offered traditional jobs at the Home Depot stores they now work in. After March 2, however, they will no longer receive full-time pay and benefits for part-time work.
“It’s been an outstanding relationship and we greatly appreciate everything Home Depot has done,” USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel told the A.P. “We’re sorry to see them go. At the same time, we appreciate their continued support of America’s athletes.”
At the height of the program, Home Depot employed more than 200 athletes. To make up for the financial loss, the USOC plans to provide stipends to winter athletes in the program through January 2010 and a one-time, $5,000 stipend to summer athletes. It will also provide health insurance these athletes might lose if they scale back or quit their Home Depot jobs.
Home Depot, which recently reported a 31 percent drop in third-quarter earnings for 2008, would not confirm that this decision was directly associated with the economy, according to the A.P.
Sears Domestic comps take toll on Sears Holdings Dec. results
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings announced that total comparable-store sales for the month of December declined 7.3%. Comparable-stores at Kmart fell 1.1%, and Sears Domestic comps fell 12.8%.
Kmart’s December comparable-store sales benefited from a year-over-year increase in sales through the retailers’ layaway program, Sears Holdings reported, while Sears Domestic December comps suffered from reduced sales across most hardlines and apparel categories.
For the full year ending Jan. 31, the company expects net income to be between $163 million and $243 million, or between $1.27 and $1.90 per fully diluted share.