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Scott Pleased with 2005 Wal-Mart Results

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott said Wednesday that he is pleased with the year’s results and is counting on changes in merchandise, management and public relations to bolster growth in 2006.

The company’s December sales at stores open at least a year came in at 2.2%, the low end of its original forecast, after heavy marketing efforts. But in an interview with The Associated Press, Scott said that he views the December same-store sales results as being less important than the $2 billion increase in total sales last month at new and existing stores.

Scott also said he believes that Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s stock, which fell 11% in 2005, is undervalued, especially since he expects the world’s largest retailer to report record sales and profits for the current fiscal year, which ends on Jan. 31.

In other Wal-Mart news, a poll released on Wednesday by a Wal-Mart-backed group of community leaders reports that about 70% of Americans think the chain is good for consumers.

The poll, conducted by RT Strategies for the recently formed “Working Families for Wal-Mart” group, comes one month after one of the chain’s most vocal critics released a Zogby International survey that found a majority (56%) thought that Wal-Mart is bad for America.

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MarineMax Buys Midwest Boat Dealership

BY CSA STAFF

Clearwater, Fla., Boat retailer MarineMax Inc. has agreed to purchase Port Arrowhead Group, a $70 million boat dealership primarily serving Missouri and Oklahoma and neighboring states. MarineMax will pay $27.5 million in cash, plus working capital adjustments and the assumption of liabilities. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.

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Linens ’N Things Deal Gets U.S. Antitrust

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, U.S. antitrust authorities on Tuesday said that they approved plans by private equity firm Apollo Management L.P. and its affiliates to buy Linens ‘N Things.

Under the terms of the Apollo deal, financing is contingent upon Linens ‘N Things reporting a fourth-quarter same-store sales decline of no more than 6% and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of not less than $140 million.

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