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J.C. Penney Co. to acquire Liz Claiborne brands for $268 million

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Plano, Texas — J. C. Penney Co. said Wednesday it will acquire the worldwide rights for the Liz Claiborne family of brands, as well as the United States and Puerto Rico rights for the Monet brand for $267.5 million.

The company has been the exclusive licensee for all Liz Claiborne and Claiborne-branded merchandise in the United States and Puerto Rico since August 2010.

The two companies have operated under a 10-year agreement that would allow J.C. Penney to acquire the brands after year five of the agreement or again at year 10. Wednesday’s announcement accelerates the original agreement and includes the acquisition of jewelry brand Monet.

“The brands we are acquiring hold tremendous appeal for our customers, and the performance of the Liz Claiborne and Claiborne brands at J.C. Penney has consistently exceeded our high expectations,” said Mike Ullman, CEO. “We will now build on that strength to accelerate the brands’ performance."

The deal includes the entire Liz Claiborne brand portfolio, including Liz Claiborne, Claiborne, Liz, Liz & Co., Concepts by Claiborne, LC, Elizabeth, LizGolf, LizSport, Liz Claiborne New York (LCNY) and Lizwear brands. Once its brands are divested, Liz Claiborne will focus on its Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and kate spade brands. It will pick a new name to reflect the change.

The transaction between Penney and Liz, which is expected to close within 30 days, also keeps the Liz Claiborne design team in place.

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iPhone trade-up comes to Target

BY CSA STAFF

BILLERICA, Mass. and MINNEAPOLIS — Customers looking to get their hands on the new iPhone 4S can trade in their old versions for special trade-in values at more than 1,400 Target stores nationwide. Through a partnership with NextWorth, Target is offering customers locked in trade-in values for old iPhones that can be redeemed when they pick up their new iPhone 4S starting Oct. 14.

According to NextWorth, old iPhones need only be in good working order to qualify for the values quoted below:

  • iPhone 4 (16GB & 32GB): $200

  • iPhone 3GS (32GB): $120

  • iPhone 3GS (16GB): $110

  • iPhone 3GS (8GB): $101

“We’re excited to expand the opportunity to lock in a great trade-in value to Target shoppers across the country,” said Jeff Trachsel, CMO at NextWorth. “For customers trading in an iPhone 4, the trade-in value will be equivalent to a free upgrade to the iPhone 4S!”

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ICSC stands in support of new federal online sales tax bill

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — The International Council of Shopping Centers released a statement that it is in support of the Marketplace Equity Act, which was introduced to Congress on Wednesday.

Currently, Internet retailers are required only to collect sales taxes in states where they have a physical presence, whether store, office, warehouse or DC. If enacted, the MEA would empower states to collect sales taxes already owed at the point of purchase from online retailers who may not have a physical nexus in the state, but sell millions of dollars in merchandise there.

“Closing the online sales tax loophole is not a partisan issue, but rather an issue of fairness,” said David B. Henry, ICSC chairman. “Each day, brick-and mortar retailers operate at a competitive disadvantage to remote sellers who don’t collect sales tax. The loophole was created by a 1992 Supreme Court decision at a time when the Internet was a mere shadow of what it is today. The MEA is a necessary step toward establishing a new, 21st century marketplace that considers both brick-and-mortar and online retailers, while protecting consumers who use and benefit from both.”

In a key component of the MEA, small businesses will be exempt from collecting sales taxes on internet transactions. As it stands now, most states already have what is known as a “use tax,” similar to a sales tax. When an online retailer fails to collect the sales tax, it falls to the consumer to report that tax directly to the state, which is often not done. This practice has given rise to the misperception of tax-free shopping online, and efforts to close the loophole are often mistaken for a new tax. The MEA is not a new tax; it simply gives states the power to collect revenue they are already owned at the point of purchase.

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