OPERATIONS

J.C. Penney donates center for high-tech retail crime task force

BY Dan Berthiaume

OAK BROOK, Ill. —J.C. Penney is donating a 5,500-square-foot center in the North Riverside Park Mall in North Riverside, Illinois to assist efforts of the Cook County Regional Organized Crime Task Force in combating retail organized crime. The center will house law enforcement offices for various police departments, government agencies and retailers for the purpose of hands-on training and collaboration.

Using the Motorola Real-Time Crime Center solution, the center will integrate streaming video, incident and criminal complaints, access to arrest records, photographs, multimedia inputs stored on separate databases for the purposes of deterring crime as it occurs and also in conducting investigations.

Situational awareness made available with Motorola’s Real-Time Crime Center solution is made actionable with the integration of a radio console to enable real-time direct voice communications with officers in the field and real-time video streaming to a vehicle or handheld device over existing carrier or private wireless networks.

“We’re proud to be a founding partner of the CCROC task force, and we’re pleased to donate space for the operations training center,” said Stan Welch, VP of loss prevention for J.C. Penney. “The center is an integral tool in derailing organized crime, and allows all participants to collect and share information like never before.”

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FINANCE

Canada’s Hudson’s Bay to buy Saks

BY Dan Berthiaume

NEW YORK —Hudson’s Bay Company has reached a deal to buy Saks Inc., in a deal that is expected to bring the luxury department store company to Canada. The Canadian retail conglomerate, which which operates Lord & Taylor in the United States and Hudson Bay in Canada, will purchase Saks for a total of about $2.9 billion. Purchase price includes $16 per share of Saks as well as the assumption of Saks’ debt.

"This exciting portfolio of three iconic brands creates one of North America’s premier fashion retailers," stated Richard Baker, HBC’s chairman and CEO. "I’ve had a long connection with Saks over the years, and am thrilled to bring one of the world’s most recognized luxury retailers into the HBC family. This acquisition will increase our growth potential both in the U.S. and Canada, generate significant efficiencies of scale, add to our powerful real estate portfolio and deliver substantial value to our shareholders."

According to a joint press release, the acquisition will benefit HBC by introducing Saks as a full-line retail brand in Canada, which is currently the largest international market for saks.com. HBC will also continue expanding the Off 5th Saks outlet brand in the United States and expects to realize about $97 million in synergies in three years as a result of the acquisition.

Saks will operate separately under the HBC umbrella, including its own merchandising, marketing and store operations teams, and will remain headquartered in New York City. It is also expected that Saks will continue to be led by key members of its existing management team. HBC will leverage top talent across both organizations and optimize a multi-banner shared services organization to drive additional benefits and reduce expenses. HBC plans to bring Saks department stores and outlet stores into Canada by converting some of its own locations, according to Reuters.

"We believe this transaction delivers compelling value to our shareholders and that Saks Fifth Avenue is an excellent fit within the HBC organization,” said Steve Sadove, chairman and CEO of Saks. “We also believe that HBC recognizes the tremendous value of our people, our real estate, our customer and vendor relationships, and most importantly the power and potential of our iconic brand. The $16 per share price represents an approximate 30% premium to the May 20, 2013 closing price, the day before media speculation began. We have made significant progress over the past few years to position Saks for future growth and to evolve into an omni-channel retailer. We are excited about what this opportunity and being part of a much larger enterprise can mean for the future of the Saks Fifth Avenue brand."

There is a 40-day "go-shop" period when Saks can seek better bids, but the company said it did not expect to get any. The transaction has been approved by each company’s board of directors and is expected to close before the end of the calendar year, subject to approval by Saks shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Previous reports indicated that Starwood Capital Group LLC, the investment firm headed by real estate developer Barry Sternlicht, had bid around $2.5 billion to purchase Saks and an unidentified third bidder, reportedly a sovereign wealth fund from the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, was also said to be in the running to buy Saks.

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News

Broad-line supplier of MRO products bolsters executive team

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — Grainger, a leading broad-line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products serving businesses and institutions, has appointed Dr. Michael Ali as the company’s SVP and CIO. He replaces Tim Ferrarell, who has assumed the new role of SVP, innovation and continuous improvement.

"Michael is a great addition to our team," said Grainger chairman, president and CEO Jim Ryan. "Beyond his IT expertise, Michael brings a strong global perspective to our organization. At the same time, I’m excited to have Tim take on the role of leading our innovation and continuous improvement efforts, both of which are critical to our continued success."

Ali has extensive global experience in information technology. Most recently he was SVP, application services and project management office, at US Foods. Previous to US Foods, he was CIO at Harman, where he led the upgrade of its SAP platform and implementation of a new e-commerce platform. Ali also was CIO at U.K.-based Jaguar Land Rover, transforming its IT organization to follow the Ford One-IT model.

With Grainger, Ali will be charged with leading the Enterprise Systems team in building flexible and scalable systems that will support the current and future needs of customers, suppliers and team members, and help drive growth for Grainger worldwide.

Ali has a PhD in computer and systems engineering from Rensselaer, an MS in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and a BS in mechanical engineering from Princeton University. Ali will be based in Lake Forest, reporting to Jim Ryan.

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