FINANCE

Linens ’n Things Throws In the Towel

BY CSA STAFF

Clifton, N.J. Linens ’n Things filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday. According to Reuters, the home-goods retailer will close 120 underperforming stores.

Reportedly, Linens ’n Things will continue to operate its remaining stores without interruption. It has obtained $700 million in financing from GE Capital to purchase merchandise through the back-to-school and holiday seasons.

Only LNT stores in the United States are impacted by the filing and there is no plan for a similar filing relative to the company’s Canadian stores, which have been among the strongest performers in the Linens ’n Things portfolio.

Michael Gries, a financial restructuring specialist, will take over as chief restructuring officer and interim chief executive. Linens ’n Things’ current chairman and chief executive, Robert DiNicola will become executive chairman and David Coder, currently executive VP, store operations, will assume the role of president and COO.

The company has petitioned the bankruptcy court for immediate authorization to continue paying salaries and benefits to its employees, as well as to honor outstanding gift cards and store credits.

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Home Depot announces store closings, fewer openings in fiscal year

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA The Home Depot today announced that it plans to close 15 underperforming stores and said that it will no longer pursue the opening of approximately 50 U.S. stores.

However, the company reiterated its intention to open 55 new stores, which include 36 U.S. stores.

The 15 stores that will close represent less than 1% of the company’s store portfolio, but will impact approximately 1,300 associates. The company stated it will provide store managers and assistant store managers with positions elsewhere in the organization and will work to place the remainder of associates in comparable positions at other stores.

“Closing a store is always a difficult decision because it affects both our people and our communities,” said chairman and ceo Frank Blake. “But, as with our decision to slow future store growth, this is the right decision and will bring long-term benefits to our associates and to our shareholders. … By building fewer stores, in the best locations, and making sure our existing stores are profitable, our company will be in a much stronger competitive position.”

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CVS/Caremark posts record first quarter results

BY CSA STAFF

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark Corp. today announced its first quarter results, which were boosted by the addition of Caremark’s pharmacy benefits business as well as an early Easter holiday.

For the thirteen weeks ended March 29, 2008, the company posted net revenues of $21.3 billion, an increase of $8.1 billion from last year’s $13.2 billion. Same-store sales in the CVS/pharmacy division rose 3.9% over the prior year, benefitting from an earlier Easter that helped shift more holiday sales into March.

Net earnings for the quarter increased 83.1% to $748.5 million, or 51 cents per diluted share, compared to $408.9 million, or 43 cents per diluted share, in the prior year period.

“I’m very pleased with our results for the quarter, ” stated chairman, president and ceo Tom Ryan. “We delivered strong revenue and margin growth across our businesses that led to earnings at the high end of our expectations.”

During the quarter, the company opened 41 new retail pharmacy stores and closed 19 stores, two mail-order pharmacies and one specialty mail-order pharmacy. It also relocated 53 retail pharmacy stores and one specialty store.

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