FINANCE

DSW moving into Canadian market; buys 44% stake in Canada’s Town Shoes

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio — In a move to establish a base in Canada, DSW Inc. has entered into an agreement to buy an approximate 44% stake in Canadian footwear retailer Town Shoes. The transaction, expected to close in May, is valued at approximately $62 million. Under the agreement, DSW will have the right to purchase the rest of Town Shoes after four years.

With sales of $264.7 million in its last fiscal year, Town Shoes is Canada’s largest footwear retailer, operating 182 stores, primarily under The Shoe Company, Shoe Warehouse and Town Shoes banners. It is owned mainly by Alberta Investment Management Corp. and Callisto Capital, a Canadian private equity firm.

“We have looked at Canadian entry options for some time and decided to acquire an existing operation with a long track record of success and to use this operation as a base from which we can establish the DSW brand in Canada,” DSW president and CEO Mike MacDonald said. "Our partnership provides us a unique opportunity to bring DSW into Canada through Town Shoes’ platform. We hope to share best practices in sourcing, operations, inventory management, and omni-channel integration to our mutual advantage."

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FINANCE

Aaron’s acquires Progressive Finance Holdings

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta — Aaron’s Inc. has acquired Progressive Finance Holdings LLC, a merchandise lease-to-own company, from Summit Partners in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $700 million. Aaron’s expects the transaction to be double-digit accretive to cash earnings per share in 2014 and significantly more accretive in 2015.

Through this acquisition, Aaron’s gains an entry point into the virtual rent-to-own ("RTO") market and will operate Progressive as a wholly owned subsidiary of Aaron’s. John Robinson, Progressive’s CEO, will join the Aaron’s executive leadership team as executive VP and CEO of Progressive, reporting directly to Ronald W. Allen, CEO of Aaron’s.

"This is a highly complementary and transformative acquisition for Aaron’s, and we are eager to capture the significant opportunities this combination will provide for our customers, franchisees, and shareholders," said Allen. "We expect that with Progressive’s best-in-class virtual customer payment capabilities, coupled with our industry leading traditional lease-to-own model, we will create an omni-channel business, providing customers with better payment options, and enhancing Aaron’s competitive position."

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News

Carrefour deploys Pricer solution for fully connected store experience

BY Marianne Wilson

Atlanta — Pricer, which provides electronic shelf label solutions, has announced that Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer, will use Pricer’s latest retail technology for a fully connected store that significantly improves the customer experience.

Carrefour’s store in Villeneuve la Garenne is the first store worldwide that allows customers to benefit from Pricer’s integrated solution using indoor navigation, mobile shopping and SmartTAG graphic labels.

“Carrefour came to us six months ago searching for ideas to modernize the shopping experience in their stores,” says Arnaud Lecat, VP store solutions at Pricer, “Pricer delivered a solution enabling Carrefour to interact with their customers through their smartphones and the ESLs.”

The mobile App created for Carrefour called "C-où", which is available on Android and iOS, allows customers to create shopping lists, search products, get promotions and find recipe ideas. The solution also includes geolocalization – once inside the store, it helps you find any product, and optimizes your shopping route through indoor navigation.

The store has been equipped throughout with over 55,000 Pricer NFC-enabled ESLs. Not only do these bring all the benefits of ESLs – including centralized price automation – but customers can even ‘like’ a product with their phone and the label will display the total number of ‘likes’.

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