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Office Depot reports Q1 loss

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boca Raton, Fla. — Office products retailer Office Depot reported a worse-than-expected first quarter net loss of $17 million, compared with net earnings of $41 million a year earlier, hurt by lower sales and costs related to its pending merger with OfficeMax. The company also said it would hold a special meeting with investors to seek approval for the merger.

Total sales decreased 5% to $2.72 billion. North American retail stores sales were down 6% to $1.1 billion, while same-store sales decreased 5%. International revenue decreased 8% to $759 million.

“Although our first quarter results were heavily impacted by the holiday timing, we saw a modest improvement in trends late in the period, which gives us confidence going into the second quarter and, ultimately, in achieving our full-year targets,” said Neil Austrian, chairman and CEO of Office Depot. “I’m also very pleased with the progress we have made on the merger over the past two months, especially the selection of Mike Newman, CFO of Office Depot, and Bruce Besanko, CFO of OfficeMax, to lead the integration efforts for the two companies.”

The Office Depot-OfficeMax merger, an estimated $1.2 billion deal, is awaiting approval by the Federal Trade Commission.

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Former Sports Authority exec new Big Lots CEO

BY CSA STAFF

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Big Lots has named David Campisi as its new CEO and president. Campisi succeeds Steve Fishman, who announced in December 2012 his intention to retire upon the appointment of his successor.

Fishman will also step down from the board of directors immediately following the 2013 annual meeting of shareholders on May 30, at which time Campisi will be appointed as a director. The board also plans to elect a non-executive chairman of the board.

Campisi has more than 30 years of retail industry experience. He was most recently chairman and CEO of Respect Your Universe, a publicly traded company focused on premium performance apparel and equipment. Prior to RYU, Campisi was an executive with the multibillion dollar retailer the Sports Authority for nearly 7 years, rising to become chairman and CEO. Prior to the Sports Authority, he held executive-level merchandising roles at Kohl’s, Fred Meyer and Meier and Frank Company.

"David Campisi is a seasoned retail executive with a track record of success in the industry," said Jeffrey P. Berger, chairman of the nominating and corporate governance committee and leader of the board’s search committee. "The board was attracted to David’s broad base of successful merchandising experience and his collaborative leadership skills. Both of these characteristics were key to the board’s search and they are believed to be paramount as Big Lots enters its next phase of growth and evolution as a company."

"On behalf of the entire board of directors, I would like to thank Steve for his vision and passion for Big Lots over the past nearly eight years. Under Steve’s leadership, the business has provided significant cash and returns to shareholders while elevating our brand and positioning in the marketplace. The board is confident Steve leaves the business with a well-established management team and a strategy to be successful. We know he will be watching closely our progress and we wish him all the best in his retirement," added Berger regarding Fishman.

"I have been impressed with the results and long-term returns which the management team has delivered for shareholders. Big Lots has a unique niche as the largest broadline closeout retailer in North America, and after spending time with the board of directors, I am excited about the opportunities to build upon what Steve and the team has created," said Campisi.

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New CFO for Bebe amid management changes

BY CSA STAFF

BRISBANE, Calif. — Bebe has appointed current principal accounting officer and VP, corporate controller Liyuan Woo as its new CFO.

Woo has been with Bebe stores since 2010. She will retain the principal accounting officer title and will be responsible for global finance, accounting, treasury, tax, compliance, planning and strategic corporate development. She will report directly to CEO Steve Birkhold.

Woo will succeed Walter J. Parks, COO and CFO, who is departing the company May 3. Bebe is eliminating the COO position, and Birkhold will assume COO responsibilities. The company expressed a desire for a flatter, more streamlined organizational structure.

“We are pleased to be able to recognize Liyuan Woo’s talent, accomplishments and strategic financial skills by promoting her to the CFO role,” said Birkhold. “We are also grateful to Walter Parks for his many contributions to Bebe during the past 10 years, and for his assistance over the four months since I joined the company in helping to facilitate the transition and position Bebe for a new level of success.”

Prior to joining Bebe, Woo was a senior manager at Deloitte & Touche’s mergers and acquisitions transaction services group. In that role, she advised private equity firms and strategic buyers in a variety of industries on mergers and acquisitions, capital structure analysis and recapitalizations, leveraged buyouts, financial due diligence and transaction modeling.

Bebe is a global specialty retailer that currently operates 245 stores in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada.

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