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Sears in Bid for Restoration Hardware

BY CSA STAFF

New York, Sears Holdings Corp has proposed buying Restoration Hardware Inc. for $6.75 per share, according to a regulatory filing on Monday.

The offer—made in a Nov. 23 letter to Restoration which Sears included in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing—would top a management-led buyout valued at $6.70 a share, or $267 million, that Restoration agreed to earlier this month.

Sears Holdings last week disclosed it owns a 13.7% stake in Restoration and had initially proposed a $4-a-share bid after being informed in late October that Restoration was weighing a management buyout.

Sears asked a special committee of Restoration’s board for confidential information to submit a binding proposal for it, which was denied, according to the letter to the special panel of Restoration’s board attached to the SEC filing.

The proposed $6.75 per-share tender offer, therefore, was based solely on publicly available information, Sears executive VP William C. Crowley said in the letter.

Restoration announced on Nov. 8 that it agreed to a buyout in a deal that includes private-equity firm Catterton Partners. It is soliciting competing proposals from third parties during a 35-day period that ends Dec.13.

A representative for Restoration Hardware and a spokesman for Sears Holdings both declined to comment.

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BJ’s reports 8% net sales increase

BY CSA STAFF

NATICK, Mass. BJ’s Wholesale Club on Tuesday reported a net income of $22.7 million for its third quarter, a 24% jump over the prior year’s period.

The wholesaler, who experienced a $1.4 million loss in 2006 because of post-tax and discontinued operations of the company’s ProFoods Restaurant Supply clubs, is seeing nothing but green this year.

Net sales for the third quarter were approximately $2.1 billion, an increase of 8% over the third quarter of 2006, while comparable-club sales grew by 3.4%.

According to the company, strong categories included televisions, small appliances, cheese, coffee, dairy, frozen produce, juices, meat, milk, office supplies, produce, soda and water. Weaker categories over last year included apparel, automotive and tools, cigarettes, pre-recorded video, residential furniture and tires.

BJ’s ceo Herb Zarkin said sales of perishable foods rose 8%—a product category carrying high profit margins that also lifted second quarter results. “Perishable foods represent our greatest opportunity to capture market share from supermarkets,” he noted.

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Ross Stores names Froman to board

BY CSA STAFF

PLEASANTON, Calif. Ross Stores announced on Wednesday that John W. Froman has been elected to its board of directors, effective immediately.

Froman served as president and ceo of NAMCO Pool & Patio from 2005 to 2007. Prior to that, he spent almost 20 years in various management roles at Circuit City, eventually serving as its evp and coo. He began his retail career over 30 years ago at Avon Products, Inc.

“We are delighted to have John Froman join our board of directors,” said vice chairman, president and ceo Michael Balmuth. “We believe that his extensive business knowledge and in-depth retail management experience will make him a valuable resource for the Company and its stockholders.”

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