News

Google Capital invests $50 million in Auction.com

BY Staff Writer

Irvine, Calif. — Auction.com, the world’s largest online real estate marketplace, has received a $50 million investment from Google Capital. As part of the investment, one representative from Google Capital will join the company’s board of directors and another will take a board observer position.

“Google is the world’s greatest Internet company and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with them. This will give us an opportunity to tap into their deep expertise in digital marketing and mobile, as well as in building world-class products,” said Jeff Frieden, CEO and co-founder of Auction.com. “More than $7 billion of commercial and residential real estate traded through our online marketplace in 2013, and we believe that having Google Capital’s support will help us expand our industry leadership, and carve out a bigger share of the global real estate market.”

Google Capital joins other strategic shareholders in Auction.com including Starwood Capital Group, Starwood Property Trust, Stone Point Capital and funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group. Auction.com annually handles tens of thousands of transactions across commercial and residential real estate for customers ranging from the largest financial institutions to individuals and brokers.

“Auction.com has quietly built one of the largest marketplaces on the web,” said David Lawee, partner at Google Capital. “We think Auction.com can fundamentally change how real estate, and particularly commercial real estate, can be bought and sold, leveling the playing field for smaller investors.”

Google Capital was formed in 2013 and previously invested in Survey Monkey, Lending Club and Renaissance Learning. It is a growth equity fund backed by Google. Google Capital invests in companies that use technology to change the way people experience the world. JPMorgan Securities LLC served as sole private placement agent for Auction.com in conjunction with the transaction.

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News

Glade prepares for spring

BY CSA STAFF

Just as the winter months draw to a close, SC Johnson’s Glade brand announced a line of new spring-inspired scents, which it says will evoke the excitement of the change of seasons.

The Glade Limited Edition Spring Collection consists of five new fragrances:

  • Lift off: A floral scent with hints of white tea and magnolia;
  • Live Loud: A bold floral fragrance with hints of rosehip and plumeria;
  • Splash Out: A blend of blackberry notes;
  • Let Loose: A mix of kiwi and wild peach; and
  • Dig It: A citrus and sunflower fragrance.

The collection is available in 4-oz. candle jars, room sprays, PlugIns Scented Oil refills and Wax Melts.

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FINANCE

February sales improve for many retailers

BY Marianne Wilson

New York – Following a bitterly cold and stormy January that left many retailers with disappointing monthly sales figures, February’s sales results were generally a bit more encouraging. Chain store sales posted a gain of 2.7% for the fiscal month of February on a year-over-year basis, according to a tally of comparable-store sales compiled by the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Chains across a variety of sectors reported increases in both same-store sales and total net sales as compared to February 2013, despite poor weather continuing into the first half of the month across much of the U.S.

Following are overviews of how the shortest month of the year treated a number of major U.S. chain retailers. All figures are compared to results in February 2013.

The Buckle: Net sales increased 0.2% to $89.5 million from $89.3 million; same-store sales dropped 1.4%.

Cato Corp.:
Net sales rose 3% to $87.4 million from $84 million; same-store sales climbed 1%.

Costco: Net sales climbed 4% to $7.9 billion from $7.58 billion; same-store sales improved 3%.

Fred’s Inc.: Net sales declined 1.5% to $157 million from $159.5 million; same-store sales decreased 2.2%.

L Brands: Net sales grew 5% to $750 million from $712.7 million; same-store sales increased 2%.

Rite Aid: Total drugstore sales increased 2.4% to $2.51 billion from $2.46 billion; same-store sales grew 1.5%.

Stein Mart: Net sales dropped 2.5% to $84.5 million from $86.7 million; same-store sales declined 2.1%.

Zumiez: Net sales climbed 9% to $48.4 million from $44.5 million; same-store sales rose 2%.

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