Report: Market speculates that Sears will go private
New York City — A report by Reuters on Tuesday revealed widespread Wall Street speculation that Sears Holdings Corp. may go private.
"There is a rumor that Bruce Berkowitz of Fairholme and Eddie Lampert could take Sears private," Jon Najarian, a co-founder of TradeMonster.com in Chicago, told Reuters.
Sears has not commented on the rumors, which come days after CIT Group halted loans that Sears’ suppliers use to finance the goods they sell to the Sears and Kmart chains.
The report, citing documents filed last Wednesday, said that CEO Eddie Lampert, who owns about 59% of the company, bought roughly $159 million worth of Sears shares from his ESL Investments hedge fund, representing 4.46 million shares in private sales. In addition, Lampert also bought shares on the open market for about $12 million.
Disney Store announces 2012 store opening plans
Pasadena, Calif. — The Disney Store on Tuesday announced its 2012 store opening plans, which includes 13 new and remodeled locations in North America, and the company’s first ever store in China, opening in the fall in Shanghai.
The North American openings include the debut of Disney’s new interactive store format in the states of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Utah and Virginia.
In Japan, the city of Sendai recently held the grand opening of its first newly designed location, and Disney Store in Milan, Italy will host the grand opening of its newly designed store in February 2012.
“We have laid a solid foundation and set a new standard for specialty retailers since launching our new store design in 2010,” said Paul Gainer, senior VP of Disney Store North America. “Our momentum continues to grow, and with the partnerships we have built with our landlords we have our best store opening slate to date, opening in premiere locations across the United States and Canada.”
Remodel and relocation plans in the United States and Canada call for a relocation of the Disney Store in Glendale (Calif.) Galleria that will reopen in the new design, a relocation of the Ala Moana Center store in Honolulu that will also debut with the new design – the first in Hawaii – and the remodels and relocations of stores in Tyson’s Corner Center in McLean, Va.; Christiana Mall in Newark, Del.; South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif.; Queens Center in Elmhurst, N.Y.; West Field Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, Calif.; and Westfield Valencia Town Center in Valencia, Calif.
New locations include Park Meadows Mall in Lonetree (Denver), Colo.; City Creek Center in Salt Lake City; Mall at Millenia in Orlando; Scarborough Town Centre in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada; and Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury, Conn.
NRF: Amazon.com tops in customer service
New York City — According to a survey released Tuesday by the NRF Foundation and American Express, Amazon.com has the best customer service among U.S. retailers.
The seventh annual Customers’ Choice survey, conducted by BIGinsight and polling 9,374 shoppers, saw the same group of retailers occupy the Top 10 spots in the poll, with some place-switching.
Behind Amazon.com in the No. 1 spot (Amazon.com ranked second last year) was L.L. Bean in second, Zappos.com in third, Overstock.com in fourth, QVC in fifth, Kohl’s in sixth, Lands’ End in seventh, J.C. Penney in eighth, Newegg in ninth and Nordstrom in tenth place.
Consumers were asked which retailer they thought delivers the best customer service overall.
“Today’s consumer has high expectations when it comes to their shopping experience, whether in-store or online,” said NRF Foundation executive director Kathy Mance. “The top retailers on this list found effective ways to win over shoppers not only with low prices, but also stellar customer service and value-added features such as unique mobile applications, free shipping and unforgettable in-store experiences.”