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Sears to spin off 89-store Orchard Supply Hardware chain

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings Corp. disclosed in a Thursday filing that it plans to spin off its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp. business as a separate, publicly traded company.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sears said it believes that the 89-store chain will generate more shareholder value on its own. Shares in Orchard Supply Hardware will be distributed equitably among shareholders of Sears Holdings, which owns 80% of Orchard Supply, and Ares Management LLC, which owns the remaining 20%. As a result, ESL Investments, the hedge fund controlled by Edward S. Lampert, which controls roughly 61% of Sears Holdings, will become the new company’s largest owner.

Sears has valued Orchard at $82 million. No target price for the IPO has yet been set and no spin-off date has been announced. Orchard generated a profit of $8.7 million and $661 million in revenue in fiscal 2010, but its revenue has dropped for several consecutive years and its profit picture has been erratic.

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Finish Line comp continues to thrive

BY CSA STAFF

INDIANAPOLIS— The Finish Line reported that net sales for the first quarter increased 6% to $299.5 million in the first quarter compared with $282.4 million a year ago. Comparable-store sales increased 6.5% in the first quarter on top of an increase of 10.9% for the same period a year ago.

Finish Line reported first quarter income from continuing operations of $16.4 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, compared with income from continuing operations of $13.7 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, a year ago, representing a 20% earnings per share increase.

“Delivering growth on top of a strong performance a year ago was the story of the first quarter,” said Finish Line chairman and CEO Glenn Lyon.

Finish Line operates 656 stores in malls across the United States.

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Campbell Soup names president and CEO

BY CSA STAFF

CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup Company has named Denise Morrison president and CEO, effective Aug. 1, the first day of Campbell’s next fiscal year. In October 2010, Morrison was named EVP and COO and elected a director of the company in anticipation of her appointment to the role of CEO at the beginning of fiscal 2012.

Morrison will succeed Douglas Conant, who will step down as president and CEO on July 31, 2011, after more than a decade in that role. Conant also will step down from Campbell’s board of directors at that time.

Morrison has more than 35 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry. She began her career at Procter & Gamble in 1975, and later held positions of increasing responsibility at PepsiCo, Nestle USA, Kraft and Nabisco. After joining Campbell in April 2003 as chief customer officer, she was appointed president of Campbell USA in 2005, and president of North America soup, sauces and beverages in 2007. In her current role as COO since October 2010, she has led all of Campbell’s global businesses, including Campbell North America, Campbell International and Pepperidge Farm, as well as corporate strategy, research and development and global marketing services. Morrison previously served as a director of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Ballard Power Systems Inc.

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