FINANCE

La-Z-Boy Inc. buying three Nevada locations from independent dealer

BY Marianne Wilson

Monroe, Mich. — La-Z-Boy Inc. announced it intends to acquire three La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries stores located in the Las Vegas market, with combined revenue of approximately $11 million. Included in the transaction are two stores in Las Vegas, and one in Henderson.

The transaction is a result of the planned retirement of the independent dealer, Steve Hueftle, who opened his first La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries store in 1988, and the mutually agreed-upon decision that transitioning the stores to a subsidiary of La-Z-Boy would be in the best interest of his employees while providing for the greatest stability and continuity of the long-standing business in the Las Vegas market.

The three stores will become part of La-Z-Boy’s retail operation and will bring the total company-owned store count within the retail segment to 96. The deal is expected to close on September 30, 2013, subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

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Del Monte bolsters pet business with new hire following first quarter results

BY CSA STAFF

Economic issues in Venezuela and fruit supply constraints affected Del Monte’s consumer business for the first quarter ended July 28. The company’s pet business, however, offset volume declines and helped net sales increase 0.3% to $823.9 million from $821.1 million for the prior-year quarter.

While consumer products net sales were $342.9 million, a decrease of 5.5% from $362.8 million in the prior year period, pet product net sales were $481 million, an increase of 5% $458.3 million in the prior year period. The increase in pet products was driven, in part, by the acquisition of Natural Balance.

“The company delivered a solid increase in profitability during the quarter,” said Dave West, CEO of Del Monte Foods. “In pet, the business continues to grow amidst a tough competitive environment. In consumer, we faced challenges driven by fruit supply constraints and the continued economic issues in Venezuela. We remain focused on generating long-term growth by investing behind our brands, as well as driving strong innovation and new go-to-market capabilities. We completed the Natural Balance acquisition and are excited to further expand in the pet independent and specialty channels, consistent with our long-term growth strategy. We also successfully launched Fruit Burst Squeezers, our first consumer products platform innovation since we restaged the Del Monte brand.”

The acquisition of Natural Balance, which operates in high growth channels in which Del Monte is currently underrepresented, complements the company’s current pet products portfolio. The company appointed Giannella Alvarez as the company’s EVP and general manager of the pet business unit in July 2013, after finalizing its acquisition of Natural Balance. She has more than 25 years of U.S. and international consumer products goods experience with premier brands and companies. Most recently, Alvarez was group president and CEO of Barilla Americas. Prior to Barilla, Alvarez held several senior positions at The Coca-Cola Company, Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble.

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FINANCE

Coldwater Creek narrows Q2 loss

BY Dan Berthiaume

Sandpoint, Idaho — Coldwater Creek Inc. narrowed its second quarter loss to $16.4 million from a year-earlier loss of $17.6 million.

Revenue was down 8.5% to $149.7 million, below the $163 million estimate from analysts. Same-store sales fell 7.3%.

President and CEO Jill Dean said sales were lower than planned in the latest period largely due to a deceleration in traffic in July.

"Our return to more consistent comparable store sales has been slower than expected; however, we know that customer engagement and driving traffic are critical to our long-term success and two recent announcements represent progress against these objectives,” Dean stated. “First, we have further strengthened our management team with the addition of Deb Cavanagh as chief marketing officer. In addition, our partnership with Alliance Data Systems provides us with an enhanced platform to drive sales and customer loyalty. We believe that these steps, combined with the extensive work we are continuing to do to align our merchandise assortment with our brand strategy, as well as our disciplined management of expenses and inventory, remain the right focus for our business."

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