FINANCE

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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OPERATIONS

Study: One-in-three shoppers showroom

BY Dan Berthiaume

Lewisville, Texas — Almost six-in-10 (58%) U.S. smartphone owners, representing one-in-three overall shoppers, “showroom” or check for better prices on in-store items using their mobile devices. The Parago Dynamic Pricing Study also shows that Amazon is the number one way U.S. consumers compare prices on smartphones in store.

Other key findings include that a price difference of just $5 can sway shoppers from in-store to Amazon purchasing, the majority of showroomers will buy a similar, but not identical item that they find on their smartphone if it is significantly cheaper, 67% of showroom shoppers will buy from a physical store over Amazon when the store matches Amazon’s price with a rebate, and that shoppers showroom across a variety of retail categories including apparel, appliance, automotive, building supplies and tools, electronics and technology, entertainment, housewares and office supplies.

“Shopping behavior has fundamentally changed,” said Rodney Mason, CMO of Parago. “The combination of growing smartphone use, consumers’ determination to find the lowest price and the ability to make purchases on smartphones while in store is resulting in brick-and-mortar retailers losing buyers to savvy e-tailers like Amazon in unprecedented numbers.”

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T.Platt says:
Jul-24-2013 11:29 am

showrooming
Retailers best combat #showrooming by selling what, when and where shoppers want to buy, via #CEM http://amex.co/13rIN5K

T.Platt says:
Jul-24-2013 11:29 am

Retailers best combat #showrooming by selling what, when and where shoppers want to buy, via #CEM http://amex.co/13rIN5K

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News

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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