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Soiled Linens: No. 2 Home Chain Talking Liquidation

BY CSA STAFF

CLIFTON, N.J. The die is cast for Linen’s N Things. In the long-running saga to save the nation’s No. 2 vertical home goods retailer, a decisive move was taken Tuesday that should resolve the fate of the company once and for all.

Having failed so far to attract a suitor for the 371-unit chain, the company is now giving any remaining potential “stalking horse” suitors an ultimatum: Decide now, or we liquidate within a week.

 

That message was glaringly clear Tuesday when Linens’ chief restructuring officer Michael Gries asked permission of the bankruptcy court to auction its remaining 371 stores as early as Oct. 14 and begin going-out-of-business sales two days later on the 16th. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi has scheduled a hearing on the matter for Friday, Oct. 10. 

 

According to a report from the Bloomberg News Service, the company may be advocating a quick and expeditious liquidation process in the interest of beating other ailing retailers to the punch.  Bloomberg cited Gries as telling the court, “We knew there would be other liquidations that were also going to take place,” adding that the company would want to position itself appropriately in the current “buyer’s market.”

The once-public company was purchased and taken private by Apollo Management in 2006.  At the time the deal was consummated, Linens ‘N Things, which operated 542 stores in 47 states in the United States and six provinces in Canada, told Retailing Today, “the underlying fundamentals of [the company] remain strong, including strong brand name recognition, attractive real estate locations and the fundamentals of the industry are very favorable.”

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Sears goes interactive with Kenmore brand

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO Sears Holdings announced that it has launched its first interactive “Kenmore Live Studio,” which will bring creativity and innovation together in a single location where consumers of all ages can explore their own talents.

The entire “Kenmore Live Studio” is equipped with cameras that will broadcast video via the Internet, so studio visitors will have the chance to share their voice with the world, the company reported. Demonstrations by chefs, presentations or unveilings of new products will be shared in real time with those following the Kenmore brand via its social media page on Facebook.

 

“The Kenmore brand has been an icon in American homes for more than 82 years and we recognize that even great brands like Kenmore need to reinvent themselves periodically to continue to meet the changing needs of our customers,” said Guenther Trieb, SVP and president of brands for Sears Holdings. “We’re proud of the brand’s recent evolution and now the ‘Kenmore Live Studio’ will give customers the opportunity to engage with the brand and see our new vision firsthand. The studio is going to be an open stage where anyone can come to share their creativity and ideas — they’ll have the chance to inspire others and be inspired themselves.”

 

The “Kenmore Live Studio,” located in downtown Chicago at Huron and Wells will be open to the public every Thursday through Sunday. Studio hours will be as follows.

 

The studio will also put a spotlight on appliance design by presenting Kenmore appliances as works of art. The Kenmore appliance gallery will include the new line of Kenmore and Kenmore Elite High-Efficiency Front Load laundry.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how customers will interact in the ‘Kenmore Live Studio’ as their engagement will be the key to making this initiative a success,” said Betsy Owens, VP and general manager of Kenmore. “The studio is not a store – it’s all about having customers engage with the brand directly and connect with the new side of the brand.”

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Foot Locker gets a new strategic plan

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Ken Hicks, chairman and CEO of Foot Locker, has announced a new strategic plan for the company.

“Foot Locker is a recognized leader in specialty athletic retailing, with a portfolio of well-known brands and banners.  The company has a strong financial position and many high potential opportunities to increase its sales and profits, both in United States and international markets,” stated Hicks.  “Our senior management team undertook a process over the past several months to thoroughly understand our position in the marketplace today and to develop strategic priorities for the future.  In doing this, we established a clear strategic vision: to be the leading global retailer of athletically inspired shoes and apparel.”  

 

Priorities in Foot Locker’s strategic plan include being the power merchandiser of athletic shoes and apparel, developing a compelling apparel assortment, improving the in-store and online shopping experience, pursuing growth opportunities, increasing asset productivity and building its retail team.

 

Over the next five years, the company said it expects to achieve: sales of $6 billion and a net income margin of 5%.

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