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Coldwater Creek files bankruptcy, to liquidate

BY Marianne Wilson

Sandpoint, Idaho — Coldwater Creek Inc. on Friday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with plans to close its stores and wind down operations by early summer.

“This difficult decision follows a comprehensive strategic and financial review of the business. While we are extremely disappointed with this outcome, the company’s declining liquidity position and the challenging retail environment, together with the fact that we have exhausted all other possibilities, requires that we take this action,” stated Jill Dean, CEO, Coldwater Creek, which, at the end of its most recent quarter, operated 343 stores, 36 factory outlets, and seven spas.

The retailer said it expects to start inventory clearance sales in May and has reached an agreement with inventory liquidators Gordon Brothers Retail Partners and Hilco Merchant Resources to manage its clearances.

In October, Coldwater Creek said it was exploring strategic alternatives, including a sale. But the company and its advisers were unable to find a buyer.

Coldwater Creek has struggled in recent years amid tepid consumer spending and fashions that didn’t resonate with customers. It hadn’t posted a quarterly profit since second quarter 2010. Same-store sales fell 17% in its most recently completed quarter, ended Nov. 2.

In conjunction with its bankruptcy filing, Coldwater Creek has received a commitment for $75 million in "debtor-in-possession" financing from its existing lender, Wells Fargo. Subject to court approval, the financing will be available to support the Company’s operations during the wind-down process.

The company listed assets of $278.5 million and liabilities of $361.3 million, according to its Chapter 11 petition filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

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Survey: Retail marketers find digital advertising important

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Retail marketers say social media and digital, customer data and brand awareness are their top three marketing challenges. Findings from a retail marketing survey SAP conducted with University of Arizona students also showed that survey participants said 100% of respondents cited digital advertising among the most important marketing tools for their organization.

Nearly 50% of participants said there is need for improvement in their companies’ digital and social “listening” strategies, as well as in how they use customer data to improve marketing efforts.

“While retailers are aware of the increasingly critical role of digital and social channels in marketing, they clearly perceive the gap in their ability to effectively leverage these trends,” said Lori Mitchell-Keller, senior VP, global industry business unit for retail, SAP. “Having access to the right digital, social and analytics tools to communicate with, listen to and understand customers in real time enables retailers to make more informed and impactful marketing decisions.”

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Safeway gets second request for merger info from FTC

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pleasanton, Calif. — Safeway Inc. has received a request for additional information and documents from the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") in connection with the FTC’s review of the previously announced agreement and plan of merger among Safeway and Albertson’s. The second request extends the waiting period imposed by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 until 30 days after Safeway and Albertsons have substantially complied with the second request, unless that period is extended voluntarily by the parties or terminated sooner by the FTC.

Safeway and Albertsons say they have been working, and will continue to work, cooperatively with the FTC.

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