REAL ESTATE

J. Crew identifies new Canadian locations

BY Staff Writer

Vancouver — J. Crew has announced three new Canadian store openings, according to a report in the Financial Post.

The new locations include stores in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto, and will join the sole store already open in the country as well as herald the launch of the retailer’s men’s apparel line in Canada.

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FINANCE

Kenneth Cole considers going private

BY Gail Hoffer

New York City — Kenneth Cole Productions’ board of directors has formed a special committee of independent directors to consider a non-binding proposal from Kenneth Cole, chairman and chief creative officer, that would take the company private.

The company announced Friday that its board of directors has received a non-binding proposal from Cole, who is the holder of approximately 47% of the company’s outstanding common stock (representing approximately 89% of the voting power), to acquire all of the outstanding shares of the company’s Class A common stock that he does not currently directly or indirectly own for $15 per share in cash.

In a letter to the board of directors, Cole explained why he thought private ownership was the best option for the company.

"The proposed transaction will ensure the company has the flexibility and structure to successfully navigate our market environment in the years to come. Recent market challenges have created a sharply competitive landscape, and I believe it is now more important than ever to embrace a more entrepreneurial perspective where we are all incentivized to grow and develop our company’s products, brand and business with a longer term perspective," said Cole. "I believe it is increasingly difficult to develop this type of culture in a public company context, where the public markets are increasingly focused on short-term results. I am convinced that private ownership is in the best interests of the business and the organization and that this proposal is in the best interests of the shareholders."

Kenneth Cole Productions’ special committee is comprised of all of the directors of the company other than Kenneth Cole and Paul Blum. The special committee is authorized to retain independent financial advisors and legal counsel to assist it in its work, the company reported.

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OPERATIONS

Williams-Sonoma debuts new website

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma announced Friday the launch of Cultivate.com, a content site and online resource for kitchen inspiration and design.

The new website provides information about kitchen design and remodeling in one single destination, offering consumers advice from kitchen experts, inspirational photos, recommendations for local kitchen professionals, and unique planning tools.

Part online design magazine, part community networking site, Cultivate.com is focused on providing information and inspiration for kitchen design and remodeling. According to Williams-Sonoma, it is not an e-commerce site and does not sell merchandise.

“Our customers are passionate about their homes, and when we surveyed them about kitchen renovation we heard a common theme – that designing a kitchen can be overwhelming,” said Katherine Rice, VP business development, Williams-Sonoma. “So we created Cultivate.com to offer a resource with an inspirational yet practical point of view, helping make their ideal kitchen a reality.”

The company said that the new site will offer a new social media component that will allow consumers to connect on an even greater scale with the kitchen professionals they admire.

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