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Lifetime Brands acquires Kitchen Craft

BY CSA STAFF

Lifetime Brands, manufacturers of brands such as Farberware, KitchenAid and Guy Fieri, has acquired Thomas Plant (Birmingham) Limited.

Trading as Kitchen Craft, Thomas Plant is one of the United Kingdom’s leading suppliers of kitchenware products and accessories. Based in Birmingham, the company sells products under well-known proprietary, customer-exclusive and owned label brands. The company supplies more than 2,600 customers in all classes of trade in the U.K. and in more than 70 countries worldwide. As part of the Lifetime Brands platform, the company will operate as a separate division under the continuing leadership of Andrew Plant, Richard Plant and Peter Bushell.

For its fiscal year ended May 27, 2013, Thomas Plant had net revenues of approximately $70 million.

Lifetime expects the acquisition to be accretive to its diluted earnings per share beginning in 2014.

In connection with the acquisition, Lifetime amended and extended its revolving credit facility and entered into a new term loan agreement. The proceeds of the new term loan, together with borrowings under the revolving credit facility, were used to fund the cash portion of the purchase price and to repay the outstanding balance of the company’s existing term loan.

“The acquisition of Thomas Plant represents a compelling opportunity for Lifetime that will accelerate our growth and make Lifetime a more effective global resource to our key retailer partners,” said Jeffrey Siegel, Lifetime’s chairman and CEO. “Kitchen Craft’s broad ranges of kitchenware products fill a gap in our existing UK housewares assortment that will complement the tableware and gift assortments marketed by Creative Tops. We are impressed by the commitment and passion of Kitchen Craft’s management, which has fostered a culture of quality, innovation and outstanding customer service that is very similar to our own. Lifetime’s global presence, capabilities and scale will facilitate Kitchen Craft’s growth in sales and profitability, as well as its expansion into new markets and geographies.”

“This is a milestone for our 164-year old business, which is known for its portfolio of iconic kitchenware brands and its deeply loyal customer base,” added Andrew Plant, Kitchen Craft’s managing director. “Lifetime is known as a stable, long-term owner of businesses and this combination provides us with the ideal platform on which to grow and to support our customers. The acquisition provides us with the resources and scale necessary to drive our future success and will further strengthen our existing product development, sourcing and distribution capabilities.”

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Lifetime was advised by Livingstone Partners LLP, Gateley LLP and Ernst & Young LLP. The shareholders of Thomas Plant were advised by Clearwater Corporate Finance LLP, Shakespeares Legal LLP and BDO LLP.

Lifetime Brands markets its products under kitchenware brands such as Farberware, KitchenAid, CasaMōda, Cuisine de France, Fred & Friends, Guy Fieri, Hoffritz, Kizmos, Misto, Mossy Oak, Pedrini, Roshco, Sabatier, Savora and Vasconia; respected tableware brands such as Mikasa, Pfaltzgraff, Creative Tops, Gorham, International Silver, Kirk Stieff, Sasaki, Towle Silversmiths, Tuttle, Wallace, V&A and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew; and home solutions brands, including Kamenstein, Bombay,Elements, Melannco and Design for Living. The company also provides exclusive private label products to leading retailers worldwide.

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Meijer taking part in NACDS-supported study

BY CSA STAFF

With cases of influenza rising across the Midwest, Meijer is participating in a new study by offering free testing for flu and strep throat at its stores in Michigan and allowing its pharmacists to dispense prescription drugs as necessary under a protocol developed by a physician who’s also involved.

Under the program, pharmacists at Meijer’s stores will administer the tests and, in some cases, fill a prescription for flu drugs under a protocol set by a physician participating in a study for which Meijer is collaborating with Ferris State University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy to examine the effectiveness of rapid diagnostic testing and the process by which medicines are administered to patients for influenza and strep throat in pharmacies.

"This is not a replacement of physician services," Meijer VP pharmacy operations Karen Mankowski said. "Increasing accessibility to testing for flu and strep throat and enabling pharmacists to work from those results means that patients might self-treat symptoms less and get better more quickly. That decreases the risk of spreading those common illnesses and allows doctors and nurse practitioners to provide care to patients with more complicated conditions."

Before the study, pharmacists at the retailer underwent a training certification program developed by a team from the two universities and sanctioned by the Michigan Pharmacists Association to administer the noninvasive Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment-waived rapid tests.

"Many of us forget how many people come to the pharmacy first anyway when they have symptoms for flu and strep," said UNMC physician and principal study investigator Donald Klepser, who is conducting the study on a grant from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation. "Stand at your pharmacy during cold and flu season and see how many people ask the pharmacist, ‘What should I take for this?’"

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Charmin enlists Kenny G to help mark new design launch

BY CSA STAFF

Charmin will transform the Hard Rock Café in Times Square into the “Soft Rocks! Café" to showcase Charmin Ultra Soft, which now features comfort cushions.

“At Charmin we regularly speak with consumers to get their perspective on our products. When we asked them about softness, they talked about their beds — the down comforters, fluffy pillows and Egyptian cotton sheets,” Gregg Weaver, senior scientist in family care research and development at P&G, said. “We used that insight to develop our comfort cushions, which look and feel soft like pillows.”

Weaver also revealed that softness is one of top three qualities consumers look for when looking for toilet paper, with strength and absorbency being the other two.

To kick-off the festivities, Charmin will bring in the talents of musician Kenny G — famous for his soothing, soft sound — to treat crowds to a concert outside the “Soft Rocks! Café.”

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