FINANCE

Markdowns up after Christmas

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Mall traffic appeared to rise during the weekend after Christmas, but markdowns at apparel retailers were relatively restrained due to lean inventories, analysts said Monday in an Associated Press report.

Roth Capital Markets analyst Elizabeth Pierce said traffic started out slowly on Saturday but picked up throughout the day.

Promotions among clothing retailers at the mall were widespread, she said, but they didn’t “skyrocket the day after Christmas, which we attribute to lean inventory levels,” she noted.

FBR Capital Markets analyst Adrienne Tennant said at some clothing retailers such as American Eagle and Urban Outfitters, “planned promotions and trend-right product served to attract customers without the need for deep discounting” throughout the holiday week and weekend.

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FINANCE

Investor discloses 25% stake in A&P

BY CSA STAFF

A California investment company revealed Wednesday it has acquired a 25% ownership stake in The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., gobbling up shares on the open market, according to a report by Supermarket News.

Aletheia Research & Management, Santa Monica, Calif., in a disclosure statement with the Securities & Exchange Commission, reported it had acquired 147 million shares of A&P in a series of purchases between Oct. 15 and Dec. 15, representing an investment of more than $136.5 million.

Aletheia in the filing said it had no current plans for changes in A&P’s business practices or its board of directors but said it reserves the right to make changes in the future. It was unclear who was selling the stock, although it had been reported this fall that Tengelmann Group, A&P’s longtime controlling shareholder, had been considering selling its investment.

Another California investor, Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. earlier this year invested $115 million in A&P, giving it a 27% ownership stake, which at the time reduced Tengelmann’s stake from more than 50% to 38.6%.

Aletheia also this week revealed it had bought a 10.8% stake in bookseller Barnes & Noble, another company in which Yucaipa has invested this year.

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ECOMMERCE

Barnes & Noble able to deliver Nooks by Christmas

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco Contrary to earlier reports by the retailer that it would not deliver a much-anticipated product in time for Christmas, Barnes & Noble issued a statement on Wednesday that it will deliver orders of its Nook electronic reader to customers by Christmas.

Last week, the bookseller told customers it would send them a $100 gift certificate if it failed to deliver Nook orders by Christmas. “We’re pleased to tell our customers today that we’re shipping out all our orders in time,” Mary Ellen Keating, a spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble, told the Wall Street Journal.

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