FINANCE

Filene’s auction reopens after controversy resolved

BY CSA STAFF

New York City A federal bankruptcy judge has cleared the way for Filene’s Basement asset auction after resolving objections from two bidders.

According to a Thursday report by the Associated Press, the auction will resume on Friday, after having been delayed for prematurely declaring a winner.

Filene’s Basement, which is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection, held a nine-hour auction last Friday and announced on Sunday that an affiliate of Men’s Wearhouse had won with a $67 million bid.

Two other bidders — Crown FB LLC and discount store Syms — objected to the result earlier this week and accused Men’s Wearhouse of failing to meet the auction requirements. Crown called the auction “a sham.” A judge directed Filene’s on Wednesday to reopen the process.

The auction is scheduled to resume Friday morning at the Wilmington, Del., office of Filene’s Basement’s bankruptcy lawyers. The case is in Delaware bankruptcy court.

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Survey reveals theft still a top concern for retailers

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON According to NRF’s fifth annual Organized Retail Crime survey, nine out of ten retailers (92%) report that their companies were victims of organized retail crime during the past year, up 8% from 2008. Nearly three-fourths (73%) of retailers also reported the level of organized retail crime activity has increased over the past 12 months, an increase of 11% from 2008.

“The unfortunate economic events of the past year have played an intricate role in how criminals continue to rip off the retail industry,” said Joe LaRocca, NRF senior asset protection advisor. “Organized retail crime rings have realized that tough economic times present new business opportunities by stealing valuable items from retailers and turning around to sell the merchandise to consumers looking for bargains.”

Even with the economy forcing retailers to cut staff and do more with less, 42% of retailers say their company is allocating additional resources to address organized retail crime. According to the survey, the average retailer spends approximately $215,000 annually just on labor costs to fight organized retail crime. Some retailers surveyed spend far more, with 6% of respondents spending more than $1 million dollars a year to employ loss prevention executives devoted to organized retail crime.

Thanks to the new partnerships formed with Federal and local law enforcement officials, retailers have had some success identifying stolen merchandise or gift cards at physical fence locations such as pawn shops and temporary stores (60%) and through online e-fencing operations (60%), where stolen merchandise is sold through online auction sites.

 

When asked how they would rank organized retail crime as a threat to their company, nearly one-third (29%) of retailers gave organized retail crime a “four” or “five” rating, identifying the problem as severe or significant. On average, retailers gave organized retail crime a rating of 2.87 on a five-point scale.

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Toys’R’Us sees increase in 1Q operating earnings

BY CSA STAFF

WAYNE, N.J. Toys”R”Us reported that operating earnings for first quarter of fiscal 2009 increased to $21 million from $2 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008. The net loss was $35 million, compared to $36 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008.

“Our first quarter results speak to the strengths of our business strategy and reflect our discipline as an organization in delivering results, protecting margin, and rigorously controlling expenses,” said Jerry Storch, chairman and CEO of Toys“R”Us.

 

Net sales during the first quarter of fiscal 2009 were $2.477 billion versus $2.719 billion for fiscal 2008.

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