FINANCE

Steve and Barry’s Begins Store Closings

BY CSA STAFF

Port Washington, N.Y. Steve & Barry’s has begun final liquidation sales at the 103 locations it will be closing following its takeover last month by BHY Holdings LHC, an affiliate of investment firms Bay Harbour Management and York Capital Management. Steve & Barry’s LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July.

A bankruptcy court approved the $163 million acquisition in August. Under terms of the deal the company is closing nearly half its locations to operate with a smaller base of 173 stores, in an effort to achieve profitability.

Final liquidation sales have begun at the closing locations and the last day of sales for 24 stores will be Sept. 24. Other stores will close soon after.

The company still plans to open a retail location in New York “over the next few months,” but no other new stores are planned.

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Movado founder to retire in 2009

BY CSA STAFF

PARAMUS, N.J. Movado Group announced that company founder Gedalio Grinberg plans to retire as chairman of the board at the end of fiscal 2009 and will remain on the board with the title of founder and chairman emeritus. Efraim Grinberg, who joined the company in 1980, will be named chairman and will also continue to serve as president and ceo.

Gedalio Grinberg, Chairman of Movado Group, stated, “I’m proud of all that our company has accomplished with the help of our employees and the confidence of our investors. After establishing a $30 million plus luxury watch business as a distributor in North America with two brands, our company strategically shifted its focus onto designing, manufacturing and distributing our own brands and as a licensee — acquiring Concord in 1970, reviving an icon of modernism in Movado, launching ESQ in 1993, expanding into the licensed watch category, and most recently acquiring Ebel.”

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Kroger reports 2Q earnings growth

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI Kroger reported total sales of $18.1 billion for the second quarter ended Aug. 16, an increase of 11.9% over the same period last year. Identical-supermarket sales increased 9.7% with fuel and 4.7% without fuel compared with the same quarter last year.

Net earnings in the second quarter totaled $276.5 million, or 42 cents per diluted share. Net earnings in the same period last year were $267.3 million, or 38 cents per diluted share.

Based on Kroger’s year-to-date results and management’s outlook for the remainder of the fiscal year, the company raised the low end of its range for annual identical sales guidance to 4.5%. Kroger now expects identical sales growth of 4.5% to 5.5%, excluding fuel, for fiscal 2008.

The company confirmed its fiscal 2008 earnings guidance of $1.85 to $1.90 per diluted share. This range reflects 9% to 12% growth over fiscal 2007 earnings of $1.69 per diluted share. Kroger expects that its full-year earnings per share growth will be driven by a combination of strong identical sales, a flat to slightly improved operating margin, excluding fuel, and fewer shares outstanding. Kroger’s dividend yield of more than 1% further enhances shareholder return.

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