FINANCE

General Growth files for bankruptcy protection

BY CSA STAFF

New York City General Growth Properties, the second largest U.S. mall owner, filed for bankruptcy protection on April 16 in one of the biggest real estate failures in U.S. history.

Ending months of speculation, the Chicago-based mall owner, which listed total assets of $29.56 billion and total debts of $27.29 billion, sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors, along with 158 of its more than 200 U.S. malls, while it seeks to restructure some of its debt.

Since November, General Growth has warned that it may have to seek protection from its creditors when it was unable to refinance maturing mortgages.

The company said in a statement that it planned to continue exploring strategic alternatives during the bankruptcy protection, from which it is seeking to emerge as quickly as possible through a reorganization that preserves its national business.

General Growth’s filing in the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan makes it one of the largest nonfinancial companies to succumb to the financial crisis in the United States.

Before the bankruptcy-protection filing, the company had defaulted on several mortgages, as well as a series of bonds. It has also put several of its flagship properties up for sale.

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Dick’s chief merchant leaves company

BY CSA STAFF

PITTSBURGH, Pa. Gwendolyn Manto has stepped down as EVP chief merchandising officer of Dick’s Sporting Goods, as of April 13, according to a company filing.

The company said it does not expect to replace her in this position but will instead realign its merchandising organization under the leadership of Edward Stack, chairman and CEO, and Joseph Schmidt, president and COO.  

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Weis Markets implements second 90-day price freeze

BY CSA STAFF

SUNBURY, Pa. Weis Markets announced it has implemented a second 90-day price freeze on 3,000 of its staple items effective April 16 through July 15.

“At a time when unemployment continues to surge in many of our markets — in some areas to as high as 10% — our Price Freeze Program is designed to offer meaningful, long-term savings to our customers,” said David Hepfinger, Weis Markets’ president and CEO. “We’ve also expanded our Price Freeze item count to 3,000 products, up 600 compared to our initial program. We estimate our initial Price Freeze program helped our customers save approximately $5 million and hope to save our customers even more in the coming months.”

Of the 3,000 Price Freeze products, Weis Markets first lowered the prices on 2,400 items — and then froze this lower price for 90 days.

 

The current price freeze program includes private label and brand name products in center store, frozen, dairy, produce, meat, deli and bakery. The Price Freeze program is being promoted in Weis Markets’ current print, television and radio ads. In stores, customers will see special Price Freeze shelf tags on participating items.

Weis Markets programs must be working, as the company reported that its first quarter net income increased 82.4% to $16.5 million compared to the same period a year ago and that its basic and diluted earnings per share increased 27 cents to 61 cents per share.

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