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Report: Buyout could hurt Saks credit

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — A buyout of Saks could further downgrade the retailer’s already low credit rating. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, credit rating provider S&P has placed Saks’ already non-investment-grade rating on watch for potential downgrade because any buyout would likely be leveraged with a large amount of debt. S&P currently gives Saks a credit rating of BB, the second-highest “junk bond” rating, which affects Saks’ loan interest rates.

Starwood Capital Group LLC, the investment firm headed by real estate developer Barry Sternlicht, and Canadian retail conglomerate Hudson’s Bay, which also owns the Lord & Taylor department store chain, have both reportedly bid around $2.5 billion to purchase Saks. An unidentified third bidder, reportedly a sovereign wealth fund from the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, is also said to be in the running to buy Saks.

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99 Cents Only digitizes audit management

BY Dan Berthiaume

Vancouver, B.C. – 99 Cents Only Stores is digitizing its audit management procedures with the ACL GRC internal audit management system. Leveraging the GRC solution, the retailer will replace spreadsheets and shared drives. Anticipated benefits include increased collaboration and visibility among team members, the ability to more easily perform risk assessments and scoring, and ease of workflow adjustment as new issues and risks are identified.

“We selected ACL GRC for our internal audit management system from a number of leading solutions for several reasons,” said Tom Rudenko, chief audit executive of 99 Cents Only. “This solution provided us with a very user-friendly, easily implemented approach to fully digitizing our audit process, including risk assessment, planning, workpapers, and reporting.”

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Domino’s Pizza delivers strong quarterly results

BY Dan Berthiaume

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Domino’s Pizza, Inc. delivered strong results in net income, revenues and same-store sales during second quarter 2013. Net income totaled $33.3 million, up 18.5% from $28.1 million the same quarter a year earlier. Total revenues were about $414.1 million, up roughly 10% from $376.1 million a year earlier. Same-store sales rose 5.8% following an increase of 5.7% a year earlier, driven by 6.8% growth in domestic franchise stores.

“Our team is very proud to be driving the continued transformation of this 53-year-old brand,” said J. Patrick Doyle, president and CEO of Domino’s. “We’ve not just endured – we’ve grown and outperformed, and made Domino’s a frequent and favorite choice for our customers. Our franchisees around the world are running great and successful businesses. This quarter’s results were more evidence for us that we’re on the right track with our strategic plan and execution. Our company’s valuation has reflected this positive performance and rewarded our shareholders. This all just makes us more energized to keep pushing forward.”

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