FINANCE

Pier I Cutting Jobs, Negotiating Lower Rents in Effort to Reduce Cost Structure

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas Pier 1 Imports Inc. said Tuesday that it is trying to lower its store rents, will cut staff and close its distribution center in St. Charles, Ill., in an effort to trim costs.

The company, which had been struggling even before the recession, will cut 10% of full-time equivalent positions in its DC, home office and field-administration units. The exact number of jobs affected wasn’t immediately available.

Separately, Pier 1 has started negotiating with landlords to lower store rents. The retailer has engaged an outside firm, DJM Realty, to assist in completing these negotiations by the end of May. Pier I said it will have to record early termination agreements to close up to 125 underperforming store locations if it can’t negotiate cheaper rents.

The company expects to incur costs related to this announcement of approximately $5 million for severance, outplacement and other charges.

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99 Cents Only reconsiders Texas exit

BY CSA STAFF

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. 99 Cents Only Stores said it has decided to suspend its exit from the Texas market for up to six months to re-evaluate its Texas operations in light of a significant improvement in January sales results and the potential beneficial opportunities resulting from a recessionary economy. The company directed management to close approximately one third of its Texas stores by March 28, its fiscal year end.

On Jan. 31, following an evaluation of its company chairman Dave Gold’s offer to buy the Texas operations by a special committee of independent directors of 99 Cents’ board, the board adopted the recommendation of the special committee to reject this offer. In the course of the board’s deliberations, the voard noted that same-store sales in Texas had increased at a rate of 8.6% during the four week period ended Jan. 24, compared to a rate of 0.8% during the five week period ended Dec. 27, 2008.

Eric Schiffer, CEO, said, “We will release our earnings for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 on Wednesday, Feb. 4. I am pleased to report that we continue to make progress on our profit improvement plan in our non-Texas operations, and I look forward to providing an update on our performance and the matters discussed in this release on our earnings conference call.”

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OfficeMax partners with organizational expert, Peter Walsh

BY CSA STAFF

NAPERVILLE, Ill. OfficeMax announced a partnership with renowned organizational expert, Peter Walsh. Walsh will lend his expertise to the development of a new line of work organization products featured exclusively at OfficeMax coming in Spring 2009. Walsh will also share workspace organizational tips and suggestions with OfficeMax customers through catalogs and mailers as well as within stores through signs and brochures.

“Many people think organization for work has to be strict and rigid, somehow that makes the task safe and acceptable for what they think is a proper work attitude,” said Walsh. “But to really be effective, organization has to be part of who you are and how you operate and not something you force yourself to adapt to.”

Walsh is currently featured throughout several current OfficeMax catalogs and promotional flyers, providing organizational advice and tips relevant to the various products featured.

Walsh will collaborate with OfficeMax on a new line of organizational products that will reflect his organization philosophy style.

Walsh, best known for authoring four books on organization and clutter, has shared his organizing tips with audiences of TLC’s Clean Sweep and The Oprah Winfrey Show where he has appeared as a regular guest since 2006. He is also a host on The Oprah & Friends Sirius XM Radio Channel for which he offers his life-changing organizational tips and helps listeners combat clutter.

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