FINANCE

Staples 3Q Sales Up 9%

BY CSA STAFF

Framingham, Mass., Staples announced Tuesday that total company sales for the third quarter ended Nov. 3 increased 9% to $5.2 billion compared to the third quarter of 2006. Net income declined 5% year over year to $275 million.

Staples said it anticipates low double-digit sales growth for the total company in the fourth quarter. Staples expects flat to slightly negative same-store sales and high single-digit sales growth in North American retail.

For the full year 2008, the company expects to achieve high single-digit sales growth for the total company and a low single-digit comparable sales increase in North American retail.

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Sears makes offer for Restoration Hardware

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Sears Holdings reported in an SEC filing today that it had sent a letter to the special committee of the board of directors of Restoration Hardware, in which it proposed a tender offer to purchase the company’s shares for $6.75 per share, and that it would contemplate entering into a merger agreement. In the letter, Sears also sought to enter into a confidentiality agreement with Restoration Hardware.

According to Sears Holdings, after sending the Nov. 23 letter, its representatives, along with representatives from Restoration Hardware met to discuss Sears’ proposal. On Nov. 25, 2007, the special committee of Restoration Hardware informed Sears Holdings that it was unwilling to enter into a confidentiality agreement providing for the superior tender offer exception sought by Sears Holdings.

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N.J. could be first state to ban plastic bags

BY CSA STAFF

TRENTON, N.J. New Jersey Assemblymen Herb Conaway, M.D., and Jack Conners introduced a bill this week that calls for the removal of plastic bags from New Jersey retailers over the next three years. The bill also seeks to create legislation that will limit the use of non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags through mandatory instore recycling programs for retail outlets with a minimum 10,000 square feet of space.

The bill, entitled the “Plastic Bag Recycling Act,” would make New Jersey the first state in the country to eventually ban plastic grocery bags, according to the assemblymen.

“We need to get these bags out of the waste stream because they are polluting our soil and our water,” said Conaway (D-Burlington, Camden). “Plastic bags may be cheap and convenient, but they have costly longterm environmental consequences that just can’t be ignored.”

Under the measure, retail stores would need to reduce their use of plastic bags by 50%  by Dec. 31, 2009 and eliminate their use entirely by Dec. 31, 2010.

In March, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to pass a law banning the use of plastic bags from large supermarkets. In July, the state of California enacted a law that requires large stores to take back plastic bags and encourage their reuse. The New York City Council also has introduced legislation calling for the recycling of plastic bags.

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