Retailers Step Up Hurricane Relief Efforts
New York City, Retailers continued their efforts to lend aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Target Stores announced it would waive fees, payments and finance charges for Target Visa card and Target Red cardholders from the affected areas for the months of September and October. In addition, during those two months, no finance charges or will be assessed and no late charges will be charged.
Target is also reaching out to its employees in the impacted areas. Similar to Wal-Mart Stores, Target is offering positions for employees in the affected areas at any Target store nationwide.
In other developments:
•Rite Aid has sent three mobile pharmacy units to affected areas to provide prescription and pharmacy services. The chain is setting up shelters for its associates in the affected areas. The shelters are equipped with running water, cots for sleeping, cooking areas, portable showers and toilets. The chain is offering transportation to and from the shelters as needed. Thirty-four Rite Aid stores are closed due to the hurricane, the majority in the greater New Orleans area.
•CVS/pharmacy is setting up emergency pharmacy units in impacted areas along the Gulf Coast.
•Federated Department Stores has begun an internal fundraising drive among its more than 240,000 associates nationwide. All employee contributions made to the designated relief organizations will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The company is also matching customer donations. Federated is offering food, water and other transitional assistance to its 500 employees in the affected areas. It is responding to requests from employees for immediate assistance, based on need.
•From Sept. 11-14, Kohl’s stores nationwide will collect gently used clothes and shoes for Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.), a national charity that delivers apparel to disadvantaged children. All of the clothing contributions will be used to assist in hurricane relief efforts. As an added incentive, every donor will receive a coupon worth 15% off their next purchase at Kohl’s.
ShopKo Takeover Faces Still Opposition
New York City, The $1 billion takeover of ShopKo Stores Inc. by buyout firm Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison may be in jeopardy after proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended that stockholders vote against the proposed leveraged buyout.
The ISS recommendation follows similar calls by activist hedge fund investor John Levin, which owns 6% of ShopKo, and a group of other shareholders who have filed lawsuits against the company claming the $24 a share that Goldner Hawn has agreed to pay is too low.
Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the buyout on Sept. 14.
Electronics Boutique-GameStop Merger OKd
West Chester, Pa., Electronic retailers Electronics Boutique Holdings Corp., with 2,280 stores, and GameStop Corp., with 1980 stores, have announced that their proposed merger has been approved by federal regulators. Shareholders of both companies still have to cast their votes in the matter.
Combining the two companies will create a worldwide retailer with more than 4,000 locations.
Electronics Boutique trades primarily under the EB Games banner.