FINANCE

Sears to contribute $203 million to domestic pension plan

BY Staff Writer

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings disclosed in a regulatory filing that "because we believe that the company has substantial liquidity and financial flexibility," the company has elected to contribute an additional $203 million to its domestic pension plan on Sept. 14, after which the plan will be 80% funded under applicable law.

Sears said that will enable the plan to offer lump-sum settlements to a portion of the domestic plan’s participants. Sears said that it now estimates that the required contributions to the plan for 2013 will be approximately $350 million.

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Ace Hardware builds a strong store strategy in 2012

BY CSA STAFF

OAKBROOK, Ill. — Ace Hardware Corp. has reported substantial growth and expansion in priority markets across the country.

“Our aggressive, long-term growth strategy features a total package of resources and support to ensure a successful future for our retailers,” said Mike Berschauer, director, retail development for Ace Hardware. “After a prosperous second quarter focused on store activations and conversions, Ace is on-track to achieve its goal of opening 170 new domestic stores in 2012.”

Ace retailers opened 30 stores in the first quarter and 36 stores in the second quarter for a total of 66 new activations year to date, an 8% increase compared to 2011. By region, Ace experienced 31 openings in the Midwest, Northeast and Atlantic Coast; 17 openings in the Southeast and 18 openings in the West.

Store conversions also increased. To date in 2012, 31 retail locations have converted to Ace Hardware from competitive formats – in comparison to 16 conversions in the first two quarters of 2011.

A number of these openings and conversions are attributed to the launch of the Ace Hardware “Express” format. Designed specifically for stores with 5,000 square feet or less, the Express format is for both current Ace retailers and other business owners seeking to integrate the Ace brand into their existing offerings. To date, there are Express format Ace Hardware locations in seven states across the U.S. – including California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

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FINANCE

Bi-Lo’s Winn-Dixie goes with KSS Retail for price and promotion optimization

BY Marianne Wilson

Cincinnati — KSS Retail, a division of Dunnhumby, announced that Bi-Lo Holding, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based parent company of Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, has extended its business relationship with KSS Retail to include price modeling and optimization services for the Winn-Dixie banner.

The company’s Winn-Dixie stores hope to leverage the KSS Retail optimization solution to model pricing and promotions to ensure that it is delivering even greater value for customers. The solution is designed provides real-time modeling of regular and promotional pricing with the ability to look at pricing by price zones, as well as customer segments.

“The KSS price optimization tool has strengthened Bi-Lo’s value message with consumers by focusing their pricing efforts on the right items and the right locations,” said Bruce Steadman, group VP of local merchandising and owned brands. “The combined company will leverage this success across both banners, further enhancing the customer experience and ensuring that customers are provided with the best possible prices on all the products they regularly purchase with us.”

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