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Parent Co. Files Chapter 11

BY CSA STAFF

Denver Struggling retailer Parent Co. said it has voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will consider selling some or all of its operations. The company was created in Jan. 2008 when the combination of Denver-based eToys with Jupiter, Fla.-based Baby Universe decided to officially change its name to something that described its new focus on growing families.

“This action is an unfortunate but necessary and responsible step to preserve the company’s value for our stakeholders in light of the ongoing challenging retail environment,” chief executive Michael Wagner said in a statement.

Parent Co. has until Feb. 23 to send a compliance plan to Nasdaq, at which point the exchange may give the company until June 22 to follow through with the plan.

Parent Co. also said it hired Oppenheimer & Co. to help assess its strategic options.

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Sears Holdings offers after-Christmas deals

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings announced that it will offer a number of after-Christmas discounts at its Sears and Kmart stores.

On Friday, Dec. 26, from 7:00 am – noon, Sears will offer Morning Doorbusters, plus special savings up to 75% off on home electronics’ clearance items. Additional deep discounts include 50% off Craftsmen Quiet Glide Tool Storage and 65% off all women’s fashion boots. Over at Kmart, after-Christmas deals include 50% off Jaclyn Smith women’s jeans and 25% to 75% off assorted toys.

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Wal-Mart settles most wage-related suits

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores and attorneys for the plaintiffs jointly announced the settlement of 63 wage and hour class action lawsuits that have been pending against the company for several years.

Each of the settlements is subject to approval by the trial court, and the total amount to be paid will depend on the amount of claims that are submitted by class members. Under the agreements, the total will be at least $352 million, but no more than $640 million. Also, as part of the settlements, Wal-Mart has agreed to continue to use various electronic systems and other measures designed to maintain compliance with its wage and hour policies and applicable law.

As a result of the settlement, the company will record an after-tax charge to continuing operations in its fiscal fourth quarter of approximately $250 million, or approximately 6 cents per share.

“Resolving this litigation is in the best interest of our company, our shareholders and our associates,” said Tom Mars, evp and general counsel for Wal-Mart Stores. “Many of these lawsuits were filed years ago and the allegations are not representative of the company we are today.”

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