FINANCE

Online retailer Bonobos raises $55 million in funding to open more stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Online menswear brand Bonobos has raised a total of $55 million in venture capital funding, bringing the brand’s total funding to $128 million. The company plans to use a large part of the latest investment to quadruple its physical store count, growing from 10 locations to 40 nationwide by 2016, The New York Times reported.

Bonobos’ physical locations, called Guideshops, average about 1,500 sq. ft. The shops do not actually sell inventory. Instead, they act as mini-showrooms where customers can try on items, receive one-on-one style and fit advice from a “Guide,” and then place their order on the company’s Web site. The goods are shipped (free of charge) to the customer’s home within a couple of days.

In February, Bonobos entered the womenswear space, launching AYR, its first women’s brand.

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FINANCE

Report: Safeway takes bids for shopping center development business

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pleasanton, Calif. – Safeway Inc. is reportedly seeking bids for purchase of its shopping center development business. According to the Financial Times, the business is expected to be worth around $1 billion.

The business centers on the purchase and development of sites for shopping centers in which Safeway servers as the anchor tenant. Safeway has been disposing of multiple assets in the wake of its merger agreement with Albertson’s, which is expected to close later in 2014. Safeway has previously said it wants to sell its Mexican operation.

Safeway has not commented on the potential sale of its development business and it is not certain whether any bids have been made or when a sale may occur.

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Report: Lululemon considers going private

BY Dan Berthiaume

Vancouver – Lululemon Athletica Inc. is reportedly considering going private. According to the Wall Street Journal, advisors to Chip Wilson, founder, director and former CEO and chairman of Lululemon, have been speaking with private equity firms including Leonard Green & Partners about possibly taking the retail chain private, although no specific deal is imminent.

Lululemon has a market capitalization of $6 billion, and going private would require reimbursing that value plus a premium. In June, Wilson announced that he voted against the re-election of Michael Casey and RoAnn Costin to the board of Lululemon. He also said he was concerned that the board is not aligned with the core values of product and innovation on which Lululemon was founded.

Wilson founded Lululemon in 1998 and has a 27% share in it. He had been living in Australia when he was asked by the company to return and deal with a quality control issue over the sheerness of its signature Yoga pants that resulted in a product recall during 2013.

Neither Wilson nor Lululemon has publicly commented on reports of going private.

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