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Main & Wall Conference to Focus on Growth Strategies

BY CSA STAFF

It’s becoming a thrill a day keeping track of the vagaries of the financial markets, all the more so for small to mid-size retail and foodservice companies that must plan for growth in uncertain times. The second annual Main & Wall conference, Feb. 11-13, 2008, at the Mayfair Resort in Coconut Grove, Fla., will help retailers better understand the fluctuations of the financial landscape and help them plan their humanresources and real estate strategies.

Produced by Chain Store Age and David N. Deutsch & Co., Main & Wall is an intimate event targeted at C-level executives from retail, foodservice and consumer-goods companies with less than $1 billion in revenues. Last year’s conference brought together leaders from such growth companies as Steve & Barry’s University Sportswear, eBags, Emerging Vision, Party America, Northern Tool + Equipment and Kiddie Kandids, as well as representatives from resources such as Gordon Bros. Group, DJM Realty, MapInfo, Oracle, Marsh, CapitalSource and Lasalle Business Credit.

The 2008 program will feature an overview of the capital markets, including the state of financing and merger/acquisition activity. On the flip side of growth is proper planning for an exit. A session will be devoted to preparing ownership for transition to the next stage of a company’s life cycle.

Private-equity firms and hedge funds are center-stage in today’s capital markets. Another panel will discuss what they are looking for in retail, foodservice and consumer-products companies. Prior to the formal conference program a “corporate finance boot camp” will be held Feb. 11 to review financial terminology and practices.

For more information on the 2008 Main & Wall program, visit www.mainandwallconference.com.

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Sears Holdings ceo unhappy with 2Q

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings today reported net income of $176 million, or $1.17 per diluted share, for the second quarter ended Aug. 4, compared with net income of $294 million, or $1.88 per diluted share, for the second quarter ended July 29, 2006. The company attributed the decline in its second quarter results from the same quarter last year to lower operating results at both Sears Domestic and Kmart, which were partially offset by improved operating results at Sears Canada.

“We are disappointed with our second quarter results. Our gross margins came under pressure from sales declines and increased promotional activity, and as a result, our net income was significantly below last year and our expectations,” said Aylwin Lewis, Sears Holdings’ ceo and president.

Sears Domestic’s comparable-store sales declined 4.3% for the quarter, while Kmart’s comparable-store sales declined 3.8%. Total domestic comparable-store sales declined 4.1%. The company reported lower sales across most merchandise categories at both Kmart and Sears Domestic, partially offset by increased sales of women’s apparel at both Kmart and Sears Domestic, as well as within consumer electronics and footwear at Sears Domestic. For the quarter, total revenues declined $0.6 billion to $12.2 billion in fiscal 2007, as compared to $12.8 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2006.

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Lane Bryant pres. joins Christopher & Banks

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Former Lane Bryant president Lorna Nagler will join Christopher & Banks as president and ceo effective Aug. 31. She will replace Matthew Dillon, who resigned from his position as president and ceo and as a member of the board of directors today. Nagler has also been elected as a member of Christopher & Banks’ board of directors effective Aug. 31.

Nagler most recently served as president of Lane Bryant, a division of Charming Shoppes. Before joining Charming Shoppes in April, 2002, Nagler served as a senior vp and general merchandising manager for apparel and jewelry at Kmart Corp.

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