FINANCE

Lord & Taylor Receives Cash Injection

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Lord & Taylor has received a $60 million cash injection from owner NRDC Equity Partners, an investment firm run by New York real-estate mogul Richard Baker, according a report in the New York Post.

The news comes as some industry insiders said they expected Lord & Taylor’s business might be disrupted this spring after a disappointing holiday season and an increase in tightened credit, sources said.

NRDC, which also recently acquired Hudson’s Bay department-store chain, has recently paid down $280 million in debt for Lord & Taylor, the report said, citing a source familiar with the matter.

The report also said that Lord & Taylor has renegotiated its loans to reduce its annual interest expense by $70 million. Meanwhile, the Hudson’s Bay department stores are getting a $70 million infusion to support operations.

Sources told the New York Post that the company believes its sales are outpacing those of its luxury peers partly because of a strategy to keep its prices at more modest levels, the report said.

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Gottschalks receives approval for first day motions

BY CSA STAFF

FRESNO, Calif. Gottschalks announced that it has received approval for all of its first day motions from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. These motions were submitted Jan. 15 as part of Gottschalks’ voluntary filing for reorganization relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

Gottschalks received court approval for a $125 million debtor-in- possession (“DIP”) revolving credit facility to supplement its working capital and provide additional liquidity during the reorganization process. This financing, which is being provided by a group of lenders led by GE Capital, enables the Company to pay vendors and other business partners in the ordinary course for goods and services received after the filing.

Among other first day motions, Gottschalks received authority to continue to make wage and salary payments and continue various benefits for employees as well as honor customer programs, such as returns, exchanges and gift cards.

Jim Famalette, chairman and CEO of Gottschalks, stated, “We are pleased to have obtained court approval for our first day motions, a critical first step in Gottschalks’ reorganization process. These approvals will ensure that we are able to operate on a normalized basis as we pursue options to create value for stakeholders, including a potential sale of the business. At the same time, we are confident that we will be able to continue serving our loyal customers without interruption.”

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Sears to offer year-round layaway service

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears announced that it will offer its layaway program year-round. The retailer offered the program throughout November and December to help shoppers purchase items during the holiday season.

The layaway service enables customers to reserve Sears merchandise, pay in installments and pick up the items within 90 days.

Sears said it got a number of positive responses about its layaway program including this one from a customer from Nyssa, Ore.: “Layaway saved our Christmas this year! It is a wonderful tool for those of us that want to make purchases and do not have the funds to pay for it all up front.”

Sears noted that its 2009 layaway program does not affect the existing Fine Jewelry program. Sears will offer layaway in most full line and hardware stores, and layaway fees do apply.

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