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Department Stores Prep for After-Christmas Push

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears announced Wednesday that it is cutting prices storewide in a push to pump after-Christmas sales. The move is being replicated at other department stores as well.

“Sears after-Christmas sale allows us to continue to give our customers unbeatable prices on the best, quality merchandise,” said Don Hamblen, Sears’ chief marketing officer. “In these tough economic times, it’s imperative to Sears that we continue to ensure Sears’ customers get the most value for their hard-earned dollar on the widest range of merchandise.”

On Friday, Dec. 26, from 7:00 am to noon, Sears will offer Morning Doorbusters, plus special savings up to 75% off on home electronics clearance items.

In a similar move, Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney is opening at 5:30 a.m. on the day after Christmas and will take orders for wake-up calls on jcp.com.

Penney is planning 100 door busters, additional discounts on winter categories and 75% off all holiday decorations, said chief marketing officer Mike Boylson. “Just because Christmas has come and gone, we think the Friday after Christmas will be busier than in past years in this economic environment,” Boylson said.

The days following Christmas have evolved into the second-biggest sales period for Penney’s teen departments, after back-to-school. So this year, spring merchandise will be out Dec. 26. “Teens get cash and gift cards, and they like to buy ahead of the season,” Boylson said.

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NRF calls for national sales tax holidays

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON The National Retail Federation has asked President-elect Barack Obama to incorporate a series of national sales tax holidays into upcoming economic stimulus legislation as an important step toward rebuilding consumer confidence, saying short-term gains from consumer spending and long-term growth from job creation are both needed to achieve economic recovery.

NRF proposed that tax holidays be held during March, July and October 2009, each lasting 10 days including two weekends. Tax-free treatment would apply to all tangible goods subject to a state sales tax ranging from apparel and home furnishings to restaurant dining and automobiles but would exclude tobacco and alcohol. The federal government would reimburse the 45 states that have sales taxes for the lost revenue, and would provide the five states without a sales tax (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon) with revenue approximating the sales tax reimbursement that would be received by states with similar population.

NRF also called for infrastructure investment in roads, rails, ports, public schools and renewable energy projects, saying it would have a double benefit of creating jobs and repairing systems that are critical to commerce.

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Pershing Square extends Borders financing agreement

BY CSA STAFF

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Borders Group announced an agreement with Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P. on behalf of its affiliates, to extend the expiration date of the previously announced Borders option to “put” its U.K.-based Paperchase gifts and stationery business to Pershing Square for $65 million, subject to certain conditions.

The “put” was due to expire Jan. 15, 2009, but has now been extended until Feb. 16, 2009. At the same time, the deadline for repayment of the $42.5 million senior secured term loan, which was originally payable to Pershing Square by Borders on Jan. 15, 2009, has also been extended to Feb. 16, 2009. Other terms of the “put” option and the term loan remain unchanged except that the approximately $1 million loan repayment premium that Borders is required to pay Pershing upon repayment of the $42.5 million loan remains due no later than Jan. 15, 2009.

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