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Eddie Bauer Shareholders Reject Takeover Options

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Shareholders of Eddie Bauer Holdings voted down the company’s takeover deal with two private equity firms, the outdoor clothing retailer said Thursday. Eddie Bauer said “an insufficient number of shareholders” were voted in favor of the proposed $286 million buyout by Sun Capital and Golden Gate Capital.

The company said it will evaluate its options and continue to operate as a public company.

As Eddie Bauer struggled to revamp merchandise and revive its brand name, the chain hired Goldman Sachs last May to explore the sale of the company. It agreed to a $9.25-a-share offer by the private equity firms in November.

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The Importance of Being In Stock

BY CSA STAFF

While many retailers are eager to put the most recent holiday selling season behind them, there are some important lessons to keep in mind for next year from a survey of 2006 holiday shoppers by KPMG LLP. Chief among these: in-stocks and a simple return policy are at the top of many consumers’ lists when it comes to deciding where to do their holiday shopping.

In the survey, entitled 2006 Holiday Shopping Behavior Consumer Research, some 81% of consumers said they sought out the store that had the desired item in stock; 75% said a simple return policy helped them decide which retailers to patronize. Only 19% of respondents cited price as being influential in choosing a retailer.

Other findings of KPMG’s study include:

Early promotions had little effect on when people shopped;

Low prices were considered most important when buying electronics;

Sixty-four percent of respondents said they preferred to shop at a strip mall or freestanding store because they were less crowded and were easier to get in and out of compared to malls;

Overall selection increased in importance as to why shoppers shifted their spending from one store to another.

One important conclusion to be drawn from the survey is that operational execution is critical for any retailer to avoid being sidestepped by consumers. Another is that heavy promotions of sales may not be the most effective or successful method of attracting customers. Both have year-round impact.

“Retailers who focus on price to drive sustained profitable growth are unlikely to achieve their goals,” said Mark Larson, KPMG’s global leader for the retail sector.

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BY CSA STAFF

Energy Management

Edison Electric Institute (EEI) will hold its National Accounts Workshop on March 11-14 at the Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix. For more information, visit www.eei.org/na.… Danfoss, Baltimore, has acquired Aztec Energy Partners, Conyers, Ga.

Music

DMX, Austin, Texas, has signed an agreement with Pottery Barn to serve as the exclusive provider of the chain’s in-store music content. The programming will be delivered to Pottery Barn’s 193 nationwide locations via DMX’s ProFusion X Gold system.

“Using the ProFusion X platform, DMX was able to improve our sound quality and take out the guesswork involved in branding our in-store music,” said Ev Dennington, director of visual merchandising, Pottery Barn, San Francisco.

Construction

The International Code Council (ICC) announced it has published its 2003 International Codes in Spanish. Currently, 47 states use the International Codes at the state or jurisdictional level.

Store Planning

RadioShack, Fort Worth, Texas, selected Quest Service Group LLC, Lynbrook, N.Y., to perform remodels in 140 stores in the New York metro area.

Digital Media

Access Retail Entertainment, Culver City, Calif., has changed its name to Access 360 Media.

Retailers Cited for Green Power

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Whole Foods Market for its commitment to advancing the development of the nation’s green-power market by awarding the chain one of its top honors: the 2006 Green Power Partner of the Year award. The retailer is the only Fortune 500 company purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset 100% of its electricity use.

Four other companies, including one retailer, Starbucks Coffee Co., also were honored with the award.

Lighting

Harris Teeter Food Markets, Matthews, N.C., has installed Fiberstars’ energy-efficient EFO fiber-optic lighting system in its store in Leesburg, Va. An additional three locations are being evaluated for future installations. The EFO system is designed to provide bright light with no heat at the endpoint.… Philips Lighting Co., Somerset, N.J., has been awarded the Affiliated Distributors’ Supplier of the Year for Leadership in the electrical supply division. In other news, the Environmental Protection Agency recognized Philips Lighting as the first U.S. firm to take a companywide pledge in meeting waste- minimization standards. Philips has committed to reducing the amount of mercury used in the manufacturing of its fluorescent lamps and to reducing the amount of lead in all its U.S. lamp- manufacturing processes.

Waste Management

Osram Sylvania, Danvers, Mass., has developed an association with Veolia Environmental Services, the largest lamp and ballast recycler in North America, to provide environmentally responsible recycling solutions. Osram is now selling RECYCLEPAK, Veolia’s proprietary recycling kit for large or small quantities of spent lamps and ballasts, through www.sylvania.com/recycle. The prepaid recycling program ensures complete compliance with state and local disposal regulations while reducing the risks associated with improper lamp storage.

Fixtures

DAVACO, Dallas, which focuses on managing the overall movement and corresponding logistics associated with retail rollouts, resets and new stores, has acquired the consolidation company Artistic Consolidations, Vergne, Tenn.

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