OPERATIONS

Report: Borders intellectual property sale delayed by privacy questions

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — A late Thursday report by Bloomberg revealed that Border Group’s planned sale of its intellectual property to Barnes & Noble was delayed due to questions regarding customer privacy.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn, Manhattan, asked that privacy rights for 48 million customers be clarified. He adjourned the Thursday sale-approval hearing in order to explore a privacy expert’s claims that how Barnes & Noble used the acquired rights could violate customer privacy.

Barnes & Noble won the auction to buy most of the trademarks and intellectual property of Borders for $13.9 million. Other trademark assets also were sold, making the sale worth $15.8 million to Borders’ creditors.

“Does Borders have the ability to e-mail blast to all customers in its database, essentially giving them the right to opt out of any sale or transfer?” Glenn asked lawyers for Borders in court on Thursday.

Border’s lawyers said they hadn’t considered the option. The hearing to approve the sale has been rescheduled for Sept. 26.

Privacy expert Michael St. Patrick Baxter filed a report with the court, saying that the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and New York Attorney General’s office, on behalf of the attorneys general of 25 states, expressed concern about the way the sale would transfer personal information. Baxter recommended that Barnes & Noble adhere to certain standards, including honoring an “opt-out” request from consumers who previously opted out of receiving marketing messages from Borders.

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FINANCE

Finish Line Q2 profit rises 24%

BY Staff Writer

Indianapolis — The Finish Line reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended Aug. 27 rose 24% to $20.9 million, compared with $16.8 million in the year-ago period.

Sales rose 10% to $331.5 million, beating Wall Street’s expectations of $321.9 million, and same-store sales surged 11%.

On Sept. 1, Finish Line acquired an 18-store chain of specialty running shops for $8.5 million. The stores operate in eight states under banners such as Greater Boston Running Co., Texas Running Co., Georgetown Running Co., Princeton Running Co., New York Running Co. and others.

"Our recent acquisition within specialty running represents the first step in our strategy to expand outside of our existing business," CEO Glenn Lyon said. "We believe the long-range opportunities for growth in specialty running are substantial."

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REAL ESTATE

Report: Sears pushes to lease space to outside retailers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — A Friday report by Wall Street Journal said that Sears Holdings Corp. is in an active push to lease surplus space to other retailers. Its real estate division has listed on its website some 4,000 of its namesake and Kmart stores that have space for other merchants or retail operations to lease.

According to Thursday’s report, Sears has secured two lease deals, one with Western Athletic Clubs for 69,000 sq. ft. of a 273,000-sq.-ft. Sears store in Cupertino, Calif. The health club is expected to open in December 2012.

In the second deal, a specialty grocer – Gonzalez Grocery – has leased 41,000 sq. ft. of a 104,000-sq.-ft. Kmart store in San Diego, with plans to open in November.

Last year, Sears leased about 15% of the space in its Costa Mesa, Calif., store to Forever 21.

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