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Leslie’s Poolmart acquires pool supplies web retailer

BY Marianne Wilson

Phoenix — Leslie’s Poolmart announced it has acquired the assets of Pool Supply World, one of the nation’s premier Internet retailers of swimming pool supplies.

As a separate division of Leslie’s Pool Supplies, the acquired business will continue to operate as Pool Supply World with its distinct brand and website. Mark Krueger, CEO of Pool Supply World, will continue to lead the business.

"This acquisition will be a great fit with Leslie’s as we continue to deploy technology to grow our e-commerce and omni-channel initiatives for many years to come," says Larry Hayward, chairman and CEO of Leslie’s Poolmart.

The transaction closed on Oct. 28.

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Retailers lag in omnichannel as holiday hiring grows

BY CSA STAFF

Shoppers continue to integrate digital devices into their lives and crave an equally integrated experience from retailers, but satisfying this heightened set of ominchannel expectation remains a work in progress for most retailers.

Few retailers have a well-defined omnichannel strategy with most professing to be in the development phase, according to a global consulting firm Hay Group. This rather worrisome insight was among the key findings in global consuling firm Hay Group’s 7th annual holiday hiring survey.

“Customers are increasingly demanding a seamless shopping experience across the web, in store catalogues and at brick-and-mortar locations,” said Maryam Morse, the firm’s national practice leader for retail. “Retailers that have an omnichannel strategy in place this holiday season will have a distinct competitive advantage to those that are still working very hard to catch up.”

According to the Hay Group survey, only 14% of retailers reported having an omnichannel strategy in place while 64% characterized their strategy as, “still in progress.”

“The biggest surprise of this year’s study is that only 14% of companies have an omnichannel strategy that has been communicated to the organization,” said Morse. “Every one of our clients is working on positioning themselves in the emerging omnichannel marketplace. This reflects the fact that many retailers are not as far along as they want to be.”

While study’s omnichannel insights are interesting, the primary focus of the annual survey is to get a read on retailer’s holiday hiring intentions. In that regard, respondents to Hay Group’s study confirmed what early estimates regarding consumer spending intentions showed with nearly 80% of retailers expecting sales to increase. The confidence in the 2013 holiday season is reflected in retailers’ plans for hiring, with 25% of retailers expecting to hire more seasonal workers than they did in 2012 and another 61% planning to hire at about the same level.

“Retailers are planning for a very merry holiday season in 2013,” said Craig Rowley, vp and global practice leader for Hay Group’s Retail practice. “Even so, there is a sense of only cautious optimism in the air, particularly in sectors like apparel and general merchandising that have experienced stagnant sales in recent months. Coming off of a sluggish back-to-school shopping season, retail organizations are keeping a keen eye on the economy and consumer confidence as they head into the 2013 holiday season.”

Increasing seasonal hiring tends to correlate closely with sales, according to Morse.

“Seasonal hiring is typically a strong indicator of holiday sales,” she said. “This is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy — as when retailers staff up, sales increase, and when retailers decrease staffing, sales suffer. This is a real-time decision that retailers have to make when it comes to balancing payroll spend with anticipated sales.”

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Men’s Wearhouse rejects Jos. A. Bank take-over proposal — again

BY Marianne Wilson

Fremont, Calif. — Men’s Wearhouse again rejected a $2.3 billion takeover bid by Jos. A. Bank, refusing to allow it confidential access to its books. Last week, Jos. A. Bank sent a letter to Men’s Wearhouse, hinting that it might raise its proposed takeover offer above $48 a share if it was allowed to conduct due diligence.

In a statement on Monday, Men’s Wearhouse once again reiterated its belief that its own turnaround plan would be better for shareholders.

In a statement, Men’s Wearhouse CEO Douglas S. Ewert said: "Our board and management team are committed to creating value for our shareholders. We are enthusiastic about Men’s Wearhouse’s prospects and are confident that our strategic plan will deliver more value to our shareholders than Jos. A. Bank’s inadequate, highly conditional proposal. We thank our shareholders for the support we have received.

Jos. A. Bank wasted no time in responding to Men’s Wearhouse latest rejection.

"We are disappointed that the board of Men’s Wearhouse has rejected our request for information and thereby chosen not to explore the potential of Jos. A. Bank’s proposal for the benefit of their shareholders," said Robert N. Wildrick, chairman of the board of Jos. A. Bank. "Their board’s position is a matter for consideration by the shareholders of Men’s Wearhouse. For our part, we stand by our previous statement and will keep our proposal open until November 14, 2013."

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