FINANCE

General Growth to exit bankruptcy by year-end

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago General Growth Properties expects 170 of its corporate entities to exit bankruptcy by the end of this year after reaching an agreement with creditors to extend loans, the mall operator told U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York on Thursday.

According to a report by Reuters, the company reached a deal with representatives of 70 loans — ranging in size from tens of millions to more than $1 billion — for extensions averaging six years, it said.

General Growth said its concessions include increased amortization on loans and additional reserves. A tentative confirmation hearing on the plan is set for Dec. 14.

General Growth, the second-largest U.S. mall owner, has underscored the difficulties in the U.S. commercial real estate market, where there are now few sources of available funding amid the credit crisis. The company owns or controls more than 200 regional malls, including valuable properties such as the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, Fashion Show in Las Vegas and Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston.

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JCPenney discontinues ‘big book’ catalogs

BY CSA STAFF

PLANO, Texas JCPenney announced that it will no longer publish its twice-yearly “big book” catalogs and will dedicate those resources to a range of customized, more timely specialty catalogs, continued targeted growth initiatives on jcp.com and ongoing leading-edge digital media services.

According to the company, the discontinuation of “big book” catalogs is part of its commitment to promoting sustainability of natural resources. The company anticipates a year-over-year reduction of 25% to 30% in paper used for catalogs in 2010 — continuing a four-year trend of declining paper consumption.

 

“To ensure we are keeping pace with consumers’ changing media habits and continued migration to online versus catalog shopping, we have increased our investments in new technologies, as well as successfully integrated the merchandising and marketing teams serving stores, jcp.com and catalog into one enterprise-wide team that is able to consistently and seamlessly serve our customers, no matter how they prefer to shop with us,” said Myron Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer. “Part of this transformation is the refocusing of our catalog operation to smaller, more targeted publications, providing us with a strategic opportunity to continue reducing our overall paper consumption and transportation-related environmental impacts. We remain committed to constantly analyzing the impact of our overall environmental footprint and upholding the principles and discipline that have helped sustain and build JCPenney into a trusted brand for over 100 years.”

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BY CSA STAFF

WAYNE, N.J. Toys”R”Us announced it has expanded its popular “Big Gift” layaway to include video game hardware and is also introducing a new video game hardware trade-in program.

“Since the introduction of the ‘Big Gift’ layaway last month, the number one request we’ve received from customers is to expand the program to include video game hardware, and we’re responding by providing more convenient payment options for these items,” said Jerry Storch, chairman and CEO of Toys”R”Us. “At the same time, we’re adding a video game hardware trade-in program in our stores for customers who may be looking for ways to save on Christmas gifts for loved ones or to upgrade their own gaming systems.”

 

Effective immediately, video game hardware is now included in the company’s “Big Gift” layaway offering. Through the program, customers can reserve some of the hottest items of the season early when supply is at its best, and make a series of small payments over time. Video game hardware such as Nintendo Wii, DS and DSi, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable systems and related accessories can be placed on layaway.

Beginning Friday, Nov. 20, customers can trade in used video game hardware at Toys”R”Us stores nationwide in exchange for Toys”R”Us gift cards.

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