FINANCE

Dollar General to open 625 stores in 2011

BY CSA STAFF

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — Dollar General Corp. on Monday lifted its earnings outlook for the year as fiscal third-quarter profit jumped 69% on continued growth in sales and margins.

The company reported earnings of $128.1 million in the latest quarter, compared with $75.6 million a year earlier. Net sales for the quarter ended Oct. 29 rose 10% to $3.22 billion and same-store sales increased 4.2%.

“Dollar General is having a great year. We are executing our plans and delivering excellent performance for our shareholders. Even as the macroeconomic environment continues to be volatile for our customers, our strong results are top-tier among retailers,” said Rick Dreiling, chairman and CEO.

In 2011, Dollar General plans to open approximately 625 new stores, including expansion into Connecticut, New Hampshire and Nevada. In addition, it plans to remodel or relocate approximately 550 stores. Selling square footage is expected to increase approximately 7% in 2011.

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FINANCE

Report: Build-A-Bear on hunt for buyer

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Build-A-Bear is looking for a buyer and has approached private-equity firms, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reported.

Barclays Capital is advising the company, the report said. The St. Louis-based chain, founded by Maxine Clark, opened its first store in 1997.

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Ackman’s Pershing Square will back Borders’ bid for Barnes & Noble

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Activist investor Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management raised its stake in Borders Group from 31.5% to 37.3% and is prepared to finance an offer by Borders to buy larger rival Barnes & Noble, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday.

According to the statement, Ackman is prepared to finance an offer by Borders to buy all of Barnes & Noble’s stock in an all-cash transaction valued at $16 per share, which would amount to about $960 million, based on the shares outstanding.

The proposal from Pershing, the largest Borders holder after CEO Bennett Lebow, would combine the two biggest bookstore chains in the United States.

“Mr. Ackman has expressed his willingness to provide financing for such a transaction, and we welcome his participation,” Mary Davis, a spokeswoman for Borders, said in an e-mailed statement, as reported by Bloomberg. “We have previously expressed to Barnes & Noble our interest in such a business combination, and we look forward to continuing those discussions.”

Ackman previously wanted to combine the booksellers, according to court documents and testimony from Barnes & Noble’s lawsuit over a so-called poison pill provision with Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. Notes taken by a Barnes & Noble lawyer during a board meeting recorded founder Leonard Riggio saying that Burkle was working with Ackman, then the largest shareholder in Borders, in pursuing a deal.

Burkle also said during testimony that he told Riggio that he had met with Ackman and they discussed Barnes & Noble buying some Borders assets if the company went bankrupt.

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