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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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Home Furnishings Association teams with TD Retail Card Services for private-label credit card program

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Mahwah, N.J. — The Home Furnishings Independents Association said Friday it has selected TD Retail Card Services’ Renovate Card private-label credit card program for use by its 1,100 retail members nationwide.

Under the agreement, the Mahwah, N.J-based business unit of TD Bank, N.A., will offer participating members the full range of services, custom financing options and other benefits associated with the Renovate Card. Created specifically for the home furnishings sector, the Renovate Card is a revolving private-label consumer credit card that can be used for purchases of products or services at any merchant participating in the program.

Retailers participating in the program will be able to offer their customers a variety of special financing options, including six no-interest programs, as well as low-APR programs.

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QVC boasts strong revenue growth in Q4

BY Staff Writer

Englewood, Colo. — Liberty Interactive, parent company of QVC, reported revenue growth for the fourth quarter and full year thanks to favorable results at QVC and its e-commerce division.

Liberty Interactive’s revenue increased 7% to $3.1 billion in the fourth quarter, and 8% to $9.6 billion for the year.

"QVC finished the year strong with impressive Q4 results, particularly in the United States and Japan, despite a challenging macroeconomic environment," stated Greg Maffei, Liberty Interactive president and CEO.

QVC’s consolidated revenue increased 5% in the fourth quarter to $2.6 billion, and 6% to $8.3 billion for the year.

QVC’s U.S. revenue increased 4% to $1.8 billion in the fourth quarter and 3% to $5.4 billion for the year. Revenue growth was driven by strong sales in electronics, home and accessories products. For the full year, these increases were partially offset by a decline in jewelry product sales.

In the fourth quarter, QVC’s e-commerce revenue increased 16% to $712 million, and grew to 40% from 36% as a percentage of total U.S. revenue. For the year, e-commerce revenue increased 15% to $2.0 billion, and grew to 37% from 33% as a percentage of total U.S. revenue.

QVC’s international revenue increased 7% in the fourth quarter to $857 million, and increased 11% to $2.9 billion for the year.

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