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Report: Starwood Capital joins bidding for Saks

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — Starwood Capital Group LLC, the investment firm headed by real estate developer Barry Sternlicht, has joined the bidding for Saks Inc., according to a report by the New York Post. Starwood Capital invests in retail, office and residential real estate.

The bid by Starwood is worth about $2.5 billion, or $17-$18 per share, according to the report. The amount is roughly equal to a previously existing bid from Canadian retail conglomerate Hudson’s Bay, which also owns the Lord & Taylor department store chain.

The New York Post reports a third bidder, most likely a sovereign-wealth fund from the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, is also in the running to purchase Saks.

Sternlicht may be the preferred bidder of Saks ownership because he would let CEO Steve Sadove retain his position, according to the report. Saks has not commented publicly on the Sternlicht bid.

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Skullcandy pumps up its executive sales team

BY CSA STAFF

PARK CITY, Utah — Audio brand Skullcandy has promoted Denny Bruce to head of domestic sales, reporting to the company’s CEO, Hoby Darling.

In this role, Bruce will be responsible for overseeing all Skullcandy brand distribution in the U.S. as well as building out a domestic brand and sales strategy for the company’s 2XL and Gaming products.

Bruce joined Skullcandy in 2010 and has been a sales manager and director of specialty sales. He has been a member of the Skullcandy executive team since 2012. Bruce came over from Vans where he leveraged his sales and key account management experience to execute a multi-tiered sales distribution strategy while holding positions in both their Vault boutique segmentation and their family footwear business units.

"The experience and leadership Denny brought to Skullcandy has been instrumental in solidifying our leadership position with the brand’s core retailers, enhancing our brand position, and significantly expanding our presence in the specialty retail channel,” said Darling. “As we aim to transform our distribution through an enhanced segmentation strategy and winning at the point of sale, I’m confident Denny is the right person to lead this critical task. I know he will provide exceptional service to our retailers, as well as great leadership to his team. I look forward to his immediate contribution.”

The company also announced that Keith Torrico and Dustin Allred, currently sales leaders in the consumer electronics channel, will take on additional responsibilities to strengthen relationships with key accounts and drive sales and brand presence through this important channel. Both will remain geographically stationed near several of the company’s largest customers.

Rich Sargente, VP of North American Sales, has decided not to relocate to Park City and will therefore be departing the company effective Aug. 18, to pursue opportunities closer to his home on the East Coast.

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Office Depot, Chegg form campus headquarters

BY CSA STAFF

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Office Depot is not forgetting college students during the highly competitive back-to-school season, and to meet that segment’s unique needs, it has teamed up with Chegg, a student hub that offers various services to college students, including textbook rentals.

Office Depot is leveraging the partnership with the connected learning platform to position itself as a college supply headquarters, and offering college students, including those making the transition from high school to their freshman year of college, deals on essential college products and services, a college checklist and best-in-class advice.

The office supplies retailer is also offering students a chance to win school essentials, including the latest technology devices and supplies, in the Countdown to College Giveaway—sponsored by Chegg and featuring prizes from Office Depot.

“As with all levels of education, college students need to be equipped with the right tools to succeed,” said Bob Moore, EVP and chief marketing and merchandising officer for Office Depot. “At Office Depot, we will not only help them find the latest in technology, services and supplies, but also provide educational guidance in order to make each year fulfilling as possible.”

In association with Chegg, Office Depot will also produce co-authored tips and articles to help students prepare for each school year. The retailer will also have college themed pre-paid gift cards that give students access to Office Depot’s supplies and tech and printing services and products.

Chegg connects students to the people and tools designed to facilitate their college education. Students can use the platform to find homework help, select courses, review eTextbook and textbook options as well as check out school and scholarship connections. Chegg began as a textbook rental company and has evolved into a student hub where students can stay connected.

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