Founder of Barnes & Noble to bid for chain’s retail assets
New York — Leonard Riggio, founder and chairman of Barnes & Noble, has told the company’s board that he wants to make an offer for its retail business. Riggio is Barnes & Noble’s largest shareholder, owning nearly 30% of the company.
The offer would not include Nook Media, Barnes & Noble’s e-book division.
Barnes & Noble said in a statement that it had formed a special board committee of three directors to consider Riggio’s proposal. There is set timetable for the process.
The filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says Riggio will seek to negotiate a price with Barnes & Noble’s board and pay for the deal with cash and debt.
Riggio is making the offer in order to facilitate the company’s review of its strategic options for separating its Nook business, according to the filing.
Barnes & Noble operates 689 bookstores in 50 states and 674 college bookstores.
Body Central reshapes merchant group
Specialty apparel retailer Body Central has transformed its merchandising organization with four high level hires and the departure of former chief merchant Beth Angelo.
The operator of 276 stores under the Body Central and Body Shop banners said Angelo resigned from her position as chief merchandising officer and EVP last Friday. Her responsibilities will be assumed by Andrea Jackson who joins the company as SVP/GMM and will be responsible for merchandising in all Body Central Stores. She most recently served as a DMM at Sears where she was responsible for juniors’ apparel and women’s dresses and outerwear. She previously spent several years in the buying and merchandising departments of Wet Seal and at Macy’s.
Other new hires included the appointment of Patti Simigran as SVP of e-commerce and direct merchandising, Debbie Martin as SVP of trend and design and Grant Simmons as vp of e-commerce marketing.
"These four leaders bring diverse and in-depth retailing knowledge in the areas of merchandising, branding, marketing, and strategic planning to Body Central," said Body Central CEO Brian Woolf. He also thanked departing head merchant Angelo for her efforts. "Separately, I want to thank Beth for her years of hard work and dedication to Body Central. She has been instrumental in building Body Central into a business with over $300 million in annual sales and we appreciate her contributions. I wish her the best in her future endeavors."
Simigran joins Body Central from Maurice’s, where she served as chief merchandising office. Prior to that, she was chief merchandising officer at Tabi International, a leading Canadian specialty retailer. She also held roles at David’s Bridal, Sears Holdings, and Land’s End.
Martin joins Body Central from Lane Bryant where she served as SVP of design, trend and product development and was responsible for vertical product integration. She also held roles at Chico’s, Lis Claiborne and Talbot’s.
Simmons joins Body Central from Coldwater Creek, where he held numerous positions in the e-commerce and marketing groups, most recently as division vp of e-commerce.
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Sales solid at Dillard’s again
Dillard’s posted its 10th consecutive quarter of same store sales growth with a 3% gain in the fourth quarter.
The operator of 284 department stores said merchandise sales for the 14 week fourth quarter ended February 2 increased 7% to $2.087 billion compared to $1.947 billion during the 13 week period ended January 28, 2012. Based on comparable weeks, merchandise sales increased 2%. Profits for the 14 week period increased to $161.4 million, or $3.36 a share, compared to $141.5 million or $2.77 during the 13 week period the prior year.
The company said sales trends were strongest in ladies accessories and lingerie and men’s apparel and accessories. Sales were weakest in the home and furniture category. Geographically, the company said sales were strongest in the central region, followed by the eastern and western regions, respectively.
"We are pleased to report a strong finish to a very successful year at Dillard’s," said Dillard’s CEO William T. Dillard II. "Our positive sales performance and gross margin expansion combined with expense control drove strong cash flow throughout the year. As a result, we were pleased to return cash to shareholders in the form of a $5 special dividend during the fourth quarter. Additionally, we purchased $185.5 million of Class A common stock during the year. As we mark our 75th year at Dillard’s this month, we are proud of our progress and excited about the future."
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