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Five Below completes IPO

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Five Below successfully completed its initial public offering of 9.6 million shares this week in a move that could see the company eventually grow from its current 200 locations to 2,000.

The Philadelphia-based discount chain targets tweens and teens with a wide range of accessories and other goods, all priced at $5 or below. It is on track to add 50 stores this year, and plans to open 60 locations in 2012.

Five Below’s same-store sales increased 12.1% in 2009, 15.6% in 2010 and 7.9% last year. Over the same period, operating income increased from $6.9 million to $26.2 million for a compound annual growth rate of 95%.

“We focus our merchandising strategy on maintaining core categories within our stores, but aim to generate high item velocity and sell-through to keep our assortment fresh and drive repeat visits,” the company said in its registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “We monitor trends in our target demographic market, historical sales trends of current and prior products and the success of new product launches to ensure that our merchandise is relevant for our customers.”

The company’s shares trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol "FIVE."

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Michaels searches for new CEO

BY CSA STAFF

The nation’s leading arts and crafts retailer is looking for a new top executive after John Menzer resigned to focus on recovery from a stroke.

After Menzer suffered a stroke in April, Michaels created an office of the CEO comprised of Lew Klessel, interim COO and a managing director of Bain Capital, and Chuck Sonsteby, Michael’s chief administrative officer and CFO. The pair will continue to lead the company until Menzer’s successor is hired.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with John and his family during his ongoing recovery, said Matt Levin, managing director with Bain Capital Partners, the private equity firm who along with The Blackstone Group, owns 93% of Michael’s outstanding shares. “We will greatly miss his leadership, passion and enthusiasm, but the imprint he has left on the company will endure in its people and their commitment to excellence. John’s contributions to Michaels cannot be overstated and he will always remain part of the Michaels family.”

Peter Wallace, senior managing director with Blackstone, added, “One of John’s many legacies is the strength of the team he built throughout the organization. We are fortunate to have such a capable group to carry forward under Lew and Chuck’s leadership while we complete the process of selecting a new CEO for the company.”

Menzer served as CEO of Michaels for the past three years and prior to that he held a variety of senior leadership roles at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., including CFO and CEO of the company’s international division.

Michaels operates 1,074 stores in 49 states and Canada and 127 Aaron Brothers stores. It is the largest specialty retailer of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall décor and seasonal merchandise for the hobbyist and do-it-yourself home decorator.

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Tops Friendly Markets to acquire 21 supermarkets from C&S Wholesale Grocers

BY Marianne Wilson

Williamsville, N.Y. — Tops Friendly Markets announced that the company has entered into an agreement with GU Markets LLC, an affiliate of C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., to acquire 21 supermarkets located in upstate New York and Vermont.

This acquisition will bring the number of Tops stores to 153 and will expand Tops’ footprint further into areas of northern and eastern New York State and neighboring northern Vermont. The planned acquisition of the 21 stores follows up on the 2010 acquisition of the Penn Traffic stores.

Current plans call for 20 stores to be operated under their current Grand Union banner, and one store to be operated under its current Bryant’s banner.

"We are very excited about this growth opportunity for Tops, especially since these stores are a natural extension of our current footprint," said Frank Curci, Tops Markets’ president and CEO. "We are looking forward to having these stores and the surrounding communities become part of the Tops family."

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