REAL ESTATE

J.C. Penney sells real estate stake in Simon, unveils in-store shops

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — J.C. Penney Co. said Monday it has raised $248 million and taken its first step toward shedding non-core assets by selling off part of its stake in a Simon Property Group unit.

Following the transaction, the real estate unit for Penney – JCP Realty – will hold about 205,000 limited partnership units in Simon’s operating partnership.

Also on Monday, J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson unveiled a trio of in-store shops, slated to open at 683 J.C. Penney stores across the United States starting on Aug. 1.

The three in-store concepts all feature denim offerings. Another lineup of shops is slated to open on Sept. 1.

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FINANCE

NRF: When it comes to taxes, online, local retailers should be on level playing field

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation reiterated its call on Congress to address a loophole that allows most online sellers to avoid sales tax collection to the detriment of local retailers and communities.

"Our current sales tax system is broken. It favors one set of retailers over another, hurts job growth, and threatens the economic health of local communities," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. "We can’t allow an antiquated decision to unfairly disadvantage Main Street in a time when it’s already fighting to stay afloat."

Shay’s comments come as the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday on H.R. 3179, the Marketplace Equity Act, authored by Reps. Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Jackie Speier, D-Calif. The bill would address the 1992 Supreme Court decision in Quill v. North Dakota, where the court said states can only require an out-of-state seller to collect tax on sales to its residents if the seller has a physical presence in the state. Instead, the legislation would allow states to require collection by all sellers the same as local retail operations.

"Every single retailer, whether they sell in a store, online or through the mail, should be afforded the opportunity to compete on a level playing field," Shay said. "Congress needs to address this for the sake of the millions of jobs supported by local retailers."

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OPERATIONS

Michaels launches search for new CEO

BY Staff Writer

Irving, Texas — Michaels Arts and Crafts said Friday it will be seeking a new top executive to replace CEO John Menzer, who has resigned to recover from a stroke.

After Menzer suffered a stroke in April, Michaels created an office of the CEO comprised of Lew Klessel, interim COO and a managing director of Bain Capital, and Chuck Sonsteby, Michael’s chief administrative officer and CFO. The pair will continue to lead the company until Menzer’s successor is hired.

Menzer served as CEO of Michaels for the past three years and prior to that he held a variety of senior leadership roles at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., including CFO and CEO of the company’s international division.

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