FINANCE

General Growth Still in Debt Talks

BY CSA STAFF

Washington D.C. Struggling mall owner General Growth Properties Inc. said it is still trying to negotiate an extension on $900 million in debt that is due to be repaid Friday, but warned there can be “no assurance” it will be repaid. The company aims to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

Earlier this month, General Growth received a two-week extension on mortgages it used to finance two Las Vegas malls, Fashion Show and Palazzo.

General Growth also said it refinanced a separate $896 million worth of loans. These funds helped the company retire a $58 million bond that matured Thursday and $814 million of mortgage debt scheduled to mature next year.

The mall owner has been hit hard by the credit crunch, as it piled up a staggering debt load during the real estate market’s boom years.

General Growth has a stake in more than 200 shopping malls in 44 states. It is trying to sell its Las Vegas locations.

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Costco sees slight 3Q comps growth

BY CSA STAFF

ISSAQUAH, Wash. Costco Wholesale reported that net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 increased 4% to $16.04 billion from $15.47 billion during the first quarter of fiscal 2008. On a comparable-warehouse basis, net sales increased 1%.

Net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 was $262.5 million, or 60 cents per diluted share, compared to $262 million, or 59 cents per diluted share, during the first quarter of fiscal 2008.

According to Richard Galanti, Chief Financial Officer of Costco, “First quarter 2009 results benefited from very strong gasoline profitability when compared to last year. Results were hurt by a slowdown in non-food discretionary sales and related reductions in margins associated with these sales, primarily in the latter half of the quarter.”

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Fred’s promotes Efird to CEO

BY CSA STAFF

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Fred’s has promoted president Bruce Efird to ceo effective Feb. 1, 2009. Efird, who will retain the title of president and remains a director of the company, will succeed Michael Hayes, who will continue as chairman of the board of directors.

Prior to joining Fred’s, Efird was evp of merchandising for Meijer. Prior to that, Efird held management positions with Bruno’s Supermarkets and Food Lion. 

 

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