FINANCE

Mervyns Files for Chapter 11

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Mervyns LLC filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, the latest in a series of retailers struggling amid a slumping economy. The privately held company said that all of its 175 locations will remain open as it reorganizes. The majority of Mervyns’ stores are in California, which has been hit hard by the real estate slump.

“Mervyns needs to reorganize its finances and operations due to the state of the economy and difficult operating environment for our industry,” CEO John Goodman said in a statement.

The chain has been shuttering stores and leaving states such as Oregon and Washington since 2005, after a consortium of private-equity players including Sun Capital Partners Inc. bought Mervyns from Target Corp. for $1.2 billion.

Mervyns, along with some affiliates, filed for Chapter 11 protection from its creditors in U.S. bankruptcy court for the District of Delaware. According to court documents, Mervyns listed liabilities and assets of $500 million to a $1 billion each, with Levi Strauss & Co. as its largest unsecured creditor.

The filing did not surprise industry experts. In recent weeks, a growing number of vendors were delaying shipments to Mervyns.

Company spokesman James Golden said it was premature to discuss layoffs or store closings.

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Best Buy to expand instrument offerings

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy confirmed reports that it will begin offering musical instruments and musical recording equipment at an additional 75-85 Best Buy stores across the U.S. and online at www.BestBuy.com. The diverse musical instrument and recording line-up will include more than 1,000 guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and recording equipment, as well as other musical instruments and accessories, all available at entry level and professional price points.

The introduction of musical instruments is a natural progression for Best Buy, explained Steve Hehir, senior vp of musical instruments for Best Buy. Consumers have always looked to us as a resource for music in a variety of formats. Now theyll be able to rely on us for help with musical performance and creating too. 

Seven Best Buy stores in Southern California and Minneapolis participated in a successful pilot of the musical instruments store-within-a-store concept that launched earlier this year. The program recently expanded to Chicago and Washington, bringing the current musical instrument store count to ten. The rollout to 75-85 Best Buy stores is expected to continue through late December. For consumers who are unable to visit a store location or who prefer shopping online, BestBuy.com will offer an expanded musical instrument assortment beginning Aug. 1.

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Report: Court reverses ruling on Whole Foods, Wild Oats deal

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON According to reports, a U.S. appeals court has reversed a lower court decision last year that enabled Whole Foods Market to buy Wild Oats Markets, despite the objections of the Federal Trade Commission.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reportedly said that U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman wrongfully turned down the FTC’s request for an injunction to block the deal, saying he “underestimated the FTC’s likelihood of success on the merits.”

Judge Friedman had denied the FTC’s request on the grounds that it did not prove that the merger between the two companies would hurt competition.

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