FINANCE

Jos. A Bank shareholder pushes toward Men’s Wearhouse deal

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Eminence Capital, a 4.9% stakeholder in Jos. A. Bank and a 10% shareholder in Men’s Wearhouse, said it supports Men’s Wearhouse’s proposed acquisition of the company and demanded that Jos. A. Bank’s board sit down and engage in "meaningful, good faith negotiations."

Efforts to merge the two retailers have dragged on for months, with each chain having their offers to acquire the other rejected.

Eminence filed suit against Jos. A. Bank on Monday for rebuffing the latest $1.54 billion bid from Men’s Wearhouse and for toughening the retailer’s anti-takeover defenses in the wake of the offer. Earlier this month, Jos. A. Bank’s board changed the trigger on its “poison-pill” anti-takeover defense so that it is activated when someone buys 10% of the company’s shares, instead of 20%.

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OPERATIONS

Midwestern U.S. has highest rate of holiday returns

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Irvine, Calif. — Statistics released by The Retail Equation, gathered during the seven days after Christmas, revealed that the Midwest states had the highest rate of returns, when comparing total dollars purchased to total dollars returned and exchanged.

Ohio led the pack with a rate of returns of 25.6%; Illinois had the second highest with 24.8%. The state with the least rate of returns was Nevada with 16%. The Retail Equation’s data also indicated that the highest rate of returns nationwide occurred at 12:42 p.m. (Pacific Time) on Dec. 26. And, while Dec 26 had the highest total returns, almost 3x the typical number of returns during the holiday season, there were 4 other days that more than doubled the normal return volumes.

“Return rates in the Midwest were higher than the rest of the country this past holiday season, which we attribute to the continued sluggish economy in the region,” said David Speights, chief statistician at The Retail Equation. “However, if managed properly, holiday returns offer a source of good consumer traffic for retailers’ end-of-year sales objectives.”

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News

Lower demand for firearms and ammo at Big 5 Sporting Goods

BY CSA STAFF

Big 5 Sporting Goods announced that their fourth-quarter sales results were affected by a lower demand year-over-year for firearms and ammunition products as well as a highly promotional retail holiday environment.

The company reported net sales of $248 million, an increase of 1.8% from $243.6 million for the prior-year quarter. Same-store sales decreased 0.5% for the quarter versus the prior year period.

The company now expects to realize earnings per diluted share in the range of $0.21 to $0.23. This guidance reflects anticipated expenses associated with the development of the company’s new e-commerce platform of approximately $0.01 per diluted share.

"Our sales results for the fourth quarter reflect the anticipated impact of cycling against the surge of firearm and ammunition sales last year, as well as the unfortunate lack of winter weather across our western markets," said chairman, president and CEO Steven G. Miller. "For the quarter, same store sales in our apparel category increased in the low double-digit range, footwear sales were slightly positive and hardgoods sales decreased in the mid-single-digit range, primarily due to lower demand year-over-year for firearms and ammunition products. Given the challenges that we faced during the quarter and the highly promotional retail holiday environment, we feel pleased that we appear positioned to deliver another quarter of earnings growth through improved product margins and controlled operating expenses."

Big 5 is a leading sporting goods retailer in the western United States, operating 429 stores in 12 states under the "Big 5 Sporting Goods" name.

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