FINANCE

Edwin Watts Golf Shops enters Chapter 11; plans to sell company

BY Marianne Wilson

Fort Walton Beach, Fla. — Edwin Watts Golf Shops on Monday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware, with the intention of selling the operating assets of the business.

The company, owned by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, listed estimated liabilities and assets of $100 million to $500 million.

All parties involved hope to have a Court approved sale transaction closed before the end of the year. Pursuant to the transaction, a significant number of Edwin Watts stores are expected to continue operating. Final store counts have not yet been determined.

Edwin Watts president and CEO John Watson noted that the decline in the golf industry over the past five years has resulted in extremely sluggish consumer demand and that it experienced a particularly challenging first half of 2013 due to poor spring weather, the impact of Hurricane Sandy in the northeast and a poor Florida golf season. Year over year golf rounds were down nearly 15% in early 2013, according to the National Golf Foundation. These challenges, Watt said, have led to a further erosion of the company’s financial position during 2013.

Edwin Watts Edwin Watts operates 90 stores across 15 states. The bulk of its retail footprint is in the Southeast U.S., with 32 stores in Florida and 12 stores in Georgia.

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OPERATIONS

Dollar General names Vasos as COO; former Duane Reade exec joins team

BY Staff Writer

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — Dollar General on Monday named Todd Vasos as COO with responsibility for store operations, merchandising and supply chain. The company also said David D’Arezzo has joined the chain as executive VP and chief merchandising officer.

Vasos most recently was Dollar General’s VP and chief merchandising officer. Since joining the chain in 2008, he has implemented numerous merchandising initiatives key to Dollar General’s growth, the company stated. He served previously as executive VP and COO at Longs Drugs (the California-based drug store was chain acquired by CVS in 2008).

D’Arezzo brings more than 30 years of retail and consumer product company experience across merchandising and operations. Most recently, D’Arezzo served as executive VP and COO of Grocers Supply and previously served as senior VP and chief merchandising officer for Duane Reade

“The alignment of our organization across store operations, merchandising and supply chain with the promotion of Todd to COO and the addition of David will create an even stronger management team and position us well for future growth,” stated Rick Dreiling, Dollar General chairman and CEO. “Dollar General has strong management depth across the organization, which clearly understands our industry, our operations and our people. Now is the perfect time to strengthen that expertise with the addition of David to the team. Having personally experienced the impact he made at Duane Reade, I believe his vision, ability to drive results and deep experience across several industries will provide a unique perspective to Dollar General.”

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FINANCE

Hudson’s Bay completes acquisition of Saks; NYC flagship to get major renovation

BY Marianne Wilson

Toronto — Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Co. said Monday that it has completed its $2.4 billion acquisition of Saks Inc. Saks shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale of the New York company during a special meeting on Wednesday. The combined company will operate a total of 320 stores, including 179 full-line specialty department stores, 72 outlet stores and 69 home stores in prime locations throughout the U.S., and Canada, along with three e-commerce sites.

In related news, Hudson’s Bay CEO Richard Baker told CNBC on Monday that Saks’ flagship in Manhattan will be getting a major makeover, as part of the acquisition.

"We will be able to spend $200 million to $250 million to renovate this store to really make it the most exciting and spectacular department store in the world," Baker said.

Saks previously said that chairman and CEO Stephen Sadove and president and chief merchant Ronald Frasch would leave the company once the transaction closed. Hudson’s Bay said that Marigay McKee would take over as president.

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