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Private equity firm buys majority stake in Party City in $2.7 billion deal

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The Boston-based private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Party City Holdings Inc., Rockaway, N.J., in a deal valued at $2.69 billion.

“Party City leads the $10 billion retail party goods industry in terms of product selection and retail network," said Todd Abbrecht, a managing director at Thomas H. Lee Partners, in a statement. "We look forward to working closely with the team at Party City to maximize its scale and vertically integrated business model to continue to grow its business.”

Party City’s current owners Berkshire Partners and Weston Presidio, will hold minority stakes following the transaction, along with current management and investors Advent International.

Party City had revenues of $1.8 billion in 2011. The company operates approximately 1,200 stores in the United States and Canada, and distributes party supplies to more than 40,000 retail outlets worldwide, as well as through its e-commerce website.

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More retailers falling victim to organized crime

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON — Organized retail crime is a growing concern for all retailers, with a staggering 96% reporting that their company has been the victim of a crime in the past year, according to NRF’s Organized Retail Crime Survey. This number is up from 94.5% in the past year. In addition, 87.7% say ORC activity in the United States has grown over the past three years.

"What this tells us is that as retailers and law enforcement become more aware of and more proactive in pursuing organized retail crime gangs, criminals have become more desperate and brazen in their efforts, stopping at nothing to get their hands on large quantities of merchandise,” said NRF VP loss prevention, Rich Mellor. “Selling this stolen merchandise is a growing criminal enterprise and retailers must remain vigilant as this is an issue that involves everyone’s cooperation when it comes to protecting retailer’s assets, including their valued store associates and customers."

The silver lining: more companies this year believe law enforcement is aware of and understands the severity and complexity of the issue (40.0% vs. 32.3% in 2011). More than half (54.4%) say top management at their company is aware of the problems associated with organized retail crime.

Cargo theft continues to grow at an alarming rate, posing huge problems for retailers and their distribution centers. On average, 52.1%of companies say they have been a victim of cargo theft in the past 12 months, up from 49.6 percent last year. A significantly higher percent of companies this year said cargo theft occurs mostly en route from the distribution center to the store (68.1% vs. 57.4% last year). Four in 10 (43.5%) say these incidents also occur en route from manufacturer to distribution center and 15.9% say they happen at the distribution center.

The survey also indicates a growing trend in the level of violence retailers see when organized criminal gangs are apprehended (15% of incidents vs. 13% in 2011). Retailers grappling with these violent acts also report that they believe more ORC offenders are engaged in drug activity. Nearly half (49%) of respondents estimate drugs and drug activity are linked to organized retail crime incidents.

When asked what new trends in organized retail crime they have noticed in the past year, retailers cited familiar issues involving the economy, returned stolen merchandise, gift card fraud, and increases in violent activity upon apprehension. However, new to the list of trends this year were specific references to 1.) digital receipt fraud; 2.) increased smash and grab incidents; and 3.) collusion with street gangs.

While organized retail crime is present in all cities, the following 10 are where retailers say the most criminal activity occurs:

  • Atlanta

  • Baltimore, Md./Washington D.C.

  • Chicago

  • Dallas

  • Houston

  • Los Angeles/Orange County, Calif.

  • New York, N.Y./Northern N.J.

  • Miami, Fla.

  • Phoenix

  • San Francisco/Oakland, Calif.

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Macy’s celebrates LGBT pride

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK — Macy’s is celebrating LGBT Pride Month this June with a number of initiatives including in-store events and participation in marches around the country.

“Macy’s is once again proud to recognize and honor our LGBT employees and customers during National Pride Month with our Pride + Joy campaign,” said Dineen Garcia, Macy’s VP diversity strategies. “These festive celebrations and community initiatives showcase our steadfast commitment to inclusiveness in all aspects of our business. From our welcoming wedding and gift registry to our long-standing support of national and local LGBT community organizations, Macy’s remains dedicated to the fundamentals of diversity, inclusion and respect for all.”

Pride + Joy, Macy’s Pride Month celebration campaign, features a multitude of in-store fashion events, merchandise, commemorative advertising and window displays, gift registry booths for couples in key cities, celebrity appearances, as well as sponsorship and employee participation in Pride parades across the country.

Additionally, since a major component of Pride is understanding and celebrating LGBT achievements and milestones, this year Macy’s is testing the public’s knowledge of Pride history with a fun trivia challenge. Test your Pride smarts for the chance to win* a $100 Macy’s gift card at macys.com/pride.

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