FINANCE

Eddie Lampert Increases Stake in AutoNation

BY CSA STAFF

New York Billionaire investor and Sears Holdings chairman Edward Lampert has acquired 1.3 million shares of AutoNation Inc., increasing his stake in the auto retailer to roughly 32.6%, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday.

In a Form 4 filed with the SEC, Lampert reported he bought the shares on Monday and Tuesday for $15.18 to $15.55 apiece. Lampert’s stock purchase brings his stake to 59.9 million shares, compared with about 184 million AutoNation shares outstanding as of Oct. 22, 2007.

As of Dec. 13, 2007, Lampert owned 58.8 million AutoNation shares, representing a 31.9% stake in the retailer.

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Movie Gallery turns profit

BY CSA STAFF

DOTHAN, Ala. Struggling DVD rental chain Movie Gallery reported a profit for the one-month period that ended Jan. 6. In its most recent monthly finance report with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the chain reported $12.7 million in net income for the 30-day period.

The chain reported $49 million in net income from its Movie Gallery stores and a $36.3 million loss at its Hollywood Video stores. The turnaround is a good sign for Movie Gallery, which closed hundreds of stores last year before filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in October 2007. Movie Gallery has struggled since acquiring the larger Hollywood Video chain in 2005.

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PROJECT Update: chic trends abound

BY CSA STAFF

LAS VEGAS If MAGIC is the cake for visitors looking to get a taste of new trends in the marketplace, then PROJECT is the luscious frosting. Located at the Sands Expo, the exhibition takes tradeshows to a new level. Wire racks and flimsy curtains have no place here; instead, the sleek, frosted booth dividers give the place a uniform, clean look. The environment mirrors that of a hip New York lounge complete with crystal chandelier and rhythmical beat. Exhibitors benefit from the contemporary atmosphere, which blends seamlessly with the bulk of the merchandise.

Undoubtedly, the essence of cool dominates the space – an array of premium denim, printed tees, eclectic dresses and hip outerwear resonate at PROJECT. Since the exhibitors primarily sell to high end department stores and specialty boutiques, the price points are much higher than those at MAGIC. Brands like 7 for All Mankind, Betsey Johnson, Chip & Pepper, Jordache and Fila have booths with the latest trends for fall.

Outdoor and industrial influences have infiltrated fashion from head to toe. Work wear inspired boots kicked up style with bright laces and plaid and nylon paneling. High-top sneakers are also on the trend radar. Although color and prints frequently highlighted collections, the intensity and boldness paled in comparison to those seen at MAGIC.

Since its debut in 2003, PROJECT has grown from 50 to over 600 exhibitors that showcase merchandise to over 24,000 visitors. As a premium and contemporary tradeshow it serves as the nexus for silhouettes that pave the road of inspiration for vendors that reach mass channels.

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