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Private equity firms acquire The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

BY Marianne Wilson

Boston — A group of private equity companies, including Advent International and CDIB Capital, have joined together to acquire a significant equity position in International Coffee & Tea, which owns and operates stores under The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf banner, with an eye on expanding in Asia. Other investors participating in the transaction include Mirae Asset Private Equity and the Sassoon family (the latter is the largest existing shareholder of The Coffee Bean, and is remaining as a substantial shareholder).

The transaction was completed on Sept. 12 and financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"We are excited to welcome Advent, CDIB Capital and Mirae as new investors in our company," said Mel Elias, president and CEO of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. "This is an important and exciting development for our customers and team members, reflecting the strong international growth and continued opportunity for coffee, particularly in Asia.

The Los Angeles-based Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf operates more than 900 company-owned and franchised stores across 15 U.S. states and spanning some 30 countries.

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Lululemon net income dips

BY Dan Berthiaume

Vancouver, B.C. – Lululemon Athletica Inc. reported a slight drop in net income during second quarter 2013.

Net income dipped about 1% to $56.45 million, from $57.7 million.

Net revenue grew 22% to $344.5 million from $282.6 million, and same-store sales increased 8%.

Christine Day, the outgoing CEO of Lululemon (she is staying until a replacement is found), said the retailer has worked its way back from the negative impact of having to recall yoga pants made from black luon that turned out to be see-through in March of this year. Lululemon is also entering an exclusive agreement to use Noble Biomaterials’ X-static antimicrobial technology in its performance apparel to help eliminate odor.

“We have not only worked our way back from the black luon setback, but have also added very talented people in important functions and have taken major steps forward on a number of key fronts including the expansion of our international and men’s businesses and many logistical initiatives,” said Day. “In addition, our exclusive partnership with Noble announced today and additional sources for luon will help to ensure that Lululemon remains a distinct leader in quality and innovation. We are well on our way to finishing 2013 as a much stronger company than when the year began. I am confident that the leadership currently in place coupled with a new CEO will have tremendous success leveraging the platform for growth."

For the third quarter of this fiscal year, Lululemon expects net revenue to be in the range of $370 million to $375 million based on a same-store sales percentage increase in the mid-single digits. Full-year net revenue is expected to reach $1.625 billion to $1.635 billion.

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Same-store, e-commerce sales help HBC swing to profit

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto – Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) reported net earnings of $3.9 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, compared to a net loss of $2 million in the second quarter of the previous fiscal year.

In addition, HBC reported consolidated sales of $947.7 million, up 3.9% from $911.9 million. The retailer credited consolidated same-store sales growth of 3.5% and e-commerce sales growth of 56.1% to $37.3 million as helping to drive its healthy overall performance.

HBC also cited strong performance of ladies’ and men’s apparel, ladies’ shoes, handbags and accessories. Same-store sales at HBC’s Lord & Taylor brand dropped 1.2%, but 6.2% same-store sales growth at the Hudson’s Bay brand helped offset this result. Sales growth was particularly strong at recently renovated locations, including the company’s Vancouver flagship store.

“Hudson’s Bay continues to demonstrate industry-leading sales growth,” stated Richard Baker, HBC’s CEO. “This performance has been driven by a continued focus on our stated strategic initiatives. We are seeing strong performance from stores and departments that have recently received capital investments. We are also pleased by the continued growth of our e-commerce sales, which accelerated in the second quarter and are up approximately 45% year-to-date following our re-launch of both banner websites. Our online business was a key factor in our results, and reflects our increased investment in this component of our business.”

On July 29, 2013, HBC and Saks announced that they had entered into a merger agreement whereby HBC will acquire Saks in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $2.9 billion, including debt. The combined company will operate 321 stores, including 179 full-line department stores, 73 outlet stores and 69 home stores throughout the U.S. and Canada, along with three e-commerce sites. HBC expects to achieve $100 million of annual synergies within three years.

The transaction has been approved by each company’s board of directors and is expected to close before the end of the calendar year, subject to approval by Saks shareholders and other customary closing conditions.

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