FINANCE

Dillard’s plans to form REIT

BY CSA STAFF

Little Rock, Ark. — In a regulatory filing on Wednesday Dillard’s said it plans to form a real estate investment trust, with the objective of improving liquidity.

According to the department store retailer, various company entities will transfer interests in properties to the REIT, which will then lease the properties back to them.

"Dillard’s believes the formation of a REIT may enhance its ability to access debt or preferred stock and thereby enhance its liquidity," the filing said.

Dillard’s also said it had formed a captive insurance company, a wholly owned unit intended to allow the retailer to more efficiently manage its risks and open access to more reinsurance markets.

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OPERATIONS

Jobless claims fall more than expected

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — A report released Thursday by the Labor Department said that U.S. claims for initial jobless benefits last week posted their biggest decline in nearly a year.

The drop erased the holiday-related spike, and illustrated that a healthier labor market remains intact.

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits dropped sharply to 404,000 from a downwardly revised reading of 441,000 in the prior week, according to the report. The 37,000 drop in claims was the biggest since the week that ended Feb. 6, when claims fell by 51,000.

Analysts had expected weekly jobless claims to fall to 420,000.

A big spike in the week ended Jan. 8 may have reflected a backlog of claims built up over the holiday season.

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FINANCE

Kohl’s and First Data team on private brand credit-card processing

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta — First Data Corp. said Thursday that it has entered into an agreement with Kohl’s Department Stores to provide payment processing services for the company’s private brand credit-card accounts.

The multi-year agreement calls for First Data to provide Kohl’s with credit-card processing, customer analytics, risk-management services and automated customer service workflow tools.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Kohl’s partnership with First Data will not affect Kohl’s current credit-card arrangement with Chase or the company’s previously announced agreement with Capital One.

“Choosing a world-class partner for payment processing with an ability to respond to the changing payments landscape was important given the success and ongoing growth of Kohl’s credit card program,” said Wes McDonald, Kohl’s senior executive VP and CFO.

A conversion date is still being determined, according to First Data.

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