FINANCE

Report: Big Lots to explore possible sale

BY CSA STAFF

Columbus, Ohio — Multiple news sources reported late Monday that discounter Big Lots is exploring its options, including a potential sale. No reports have yet been confirmed by the retailer.

According to Bloomberg, which cited an unnamed source, Big Lots is exploring a possible sale of the company after receiving interest from buyout firms. Big Lots has a total enterprise value of $2.6 billion, according to Capital IQ.

Big Lots, which is working with Goldman Sachs Group to study strategic options, was approached by Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Bain Capital LLC, according to Bloomberg’s source.

Shares of the retailer surged more than 15% in Monday afternoon trading after the reports surfaced.

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FINANCE

Survey: Rebate activity on rise among consumers

BY CSA STAFF

Lewisville, Texas — New research indicates that rebate programs are rising in favor with consumers and continuing to grow as a strategic approach for marketers. According to Parago, the nation’s largest rebate provider, 47% of consumers submitted a rebate in the past 12 months, up from 37% in the prior year.

Also, consumers who submit rebates do so frequently, with 40% of consumers surveyed submitting more than five rebates per year. Finally, 83% of consumers responded that price was an important factor when shopping for gifts during the recent holiday season, and 34% took advantage of a rebate deal during the holidays.

"We view the overall success of rebates in 2010 the result of two things: increased consumer deal-finding behavior and the evolution of rebates from simple marketing tactics to strategic loyalty builders for businesses," said Juli Spottiswood, president and CEO of Parago, whose its retail rebating business was up 33% in 2010.

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The Pantry narrows loss in Q1

BY CSA STAFF

Cary, N.C. — C-store operator The Pantry said Tuesday that it narrowed its loss for the quarter ended Dec. 30 to $12.2 million, compared with a loss of $26.1 million a year earlier.

Merchandise same-store sales increased 1.3% for the quarter.

The Pantry operates 1,662 stores in 13 states primarily under the Kangaroo Express banner.

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