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Mattress Firm to buy 310-store Sleep Train for $425 million

BY Marianne Wilson

Houston — In a deal that will create a national specialty bedding retail powerhouse, Mattress Firm Holding Corp. has agreed to acquire rival The Sleep Train Inc. for about $425 million. As part of the deal, Mattress Firm said that it will also assume certain additional liabilities totaling about $15 million.

Sleep Train operates approximately 310 specialty mattress stores, primarily in California, Oregon, and other Western states. It reported net sales of $471 million for the 2013 fiscal year.

Mattress Firm plans to continue operating under both the Mattress Firm and Sleep Train banners and will also keep Sleep Train’s corporate headquarters near Sacramento, California.

Sleep Train CEO Dale Carlsen will become president and chief strategy officer after the acquisition is complete. He will also become Mattress Firm’s vice chairman.

Sleep Train COO Rob Killgore will become co-COO, sharing the post with current Mattress Firm COO Ken Murphy.

According to Mattress Firm, the purchase will add a significant West Coast presence with minimal store overlap and create the nation’s largest mattress specialty retailer, with pro forma sales approaching $2 billion annually and more than 2,000 stores. Mattress Firm has identified more than $20 million of potential cost synergies by the third year after closing.

“The acquisition of Sleep Train will establish Mattress Firm as the first border to border, coast to coast multibrand mattress specialty retailer in the United States,” said R. Stephen Stagner, Mattress Firm’s CEO.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the fourth fiscal quarter of 2014.

Mattress Train also announced results for its second quarter of fiscal 2014. Net income slightly dropped 1% to $14.12 million from $14.3 million in the same period the prior year, driven by acquisition-related costs and ERP system implementation costs.

Net sales rose 35% to $410 million from $302.5 million, and same-store sales rose 9.7%.

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Costco Q4 sales climb 9%; will open nine stores by year-end

BY Dan Berthiaume

Issaquah, Wash. – Costco Wholesale Corp. on Thursday reported that its revenue for the fourth-quarter climbed 9% to $34.8 billion. Total same-store sales, excluding negative impacts from gasoline price deflation and foreign exchange, increased 7%.

Costco plans to open nine new warehouse stores before the end of calendar year 2014.

During the full fiscal year 2014, Costco reported a 7% jump in net sales to $110.2 million from $102.9 million. Total same-store sales rose 6%.

The company will release full fourth quarter and fiscal year financial results on Oct. 8.

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Saks partners with Curate on content hub

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Saks Fifth Avenue is launching a user-generated content hub on Saks.com called #SaksStyle. Created by Curalate on its Fanreel image integration platform, #SaksStyle will function as a daily go-to guide for fashion inspiration created solely by Saks customers, highlighting products purchased from Saks Fifth Avenue locations nationwide and online.

The #SaksStyle hub will collect content from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to aggregate photos and create a shoppable social sharing platform, with shoppable selfies that allow customers to purchase items they see other customers displaying.

"We are creating a community where our most style savvy customers can engage, shop looks within the photos on saks.com and be inspired by the fashion point of view of others," said Qianna Smith, director of social media. "Our goal is to connect customers with similar interests in the most dynamic way possible, which meant breaking new ground by encompassing four of the most prominent social networks into one cohesive hashtag photo sharing experience."

A curated selection of images submitted by users will be populated on the hub on a daily basis. Visitors will have the ability to sort by popular and trending images — making it easy to see which user photos have received the most likes and comments. Customers will also be able to sort through images based on a specific product category.

In an effort to continue the omnichannel experience, all Saks Fifth Avenue women’s ready-to-wear and contemporary departments will have vinyl decals in the fitting rooms, to allow customers to instantly share products.

Saks says the goal of the #SaksStyle hub is to reinforce Saks’ innovation in both the retail market and in social media by creating a sense of community within its customer-base with an expanded notion of the shopping experience. By compelling shoppers who actively participate in social media with an inclusive avenue, it is designed to strengthen loyalty and broaden Saks’ online visibility to a whole new range of consumers.

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