FINANCE

Sycamore and Talbots sew up $193 million deal

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Hingham, Mass. — After announcing that talks between private equity firm Sycamore Partners and Talbots had ended, then issuing an update that negotiations had resumed but without exclusivity, the pair said Thursday that a deal has been struck.

Sycamore Partners is acquiring the apparel retailer for approximately $193.3 million, according to Thursday’s announcement.

Including debt, the deal is valued at close to $369 million.

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Hy-Vee executive newest GMA hall of fame inductee

BY CSA STAFF

Ric Jurgens spent the past 43 years working for and building Hy-Vee into a strong regional chain and later this summer his accomplishments will be acknowledged by the Grocery Manufacturers Association when he receives the organization’s Hall of Achievement Award.

Jurgens announced plans to retire last December with an effective date of June 1. He is succeeded by Randy Edeker, an executive who spent the past 30 years with the grocer and most recently served as president and COO of the employee owned company. Jurgens served as CEO since 2003 and added the chairman title in 2006. Hy-Vee operates 235 stores in eight Midwestern states with annual sales of $7.3 billion.

"It has been my privilege to serve Hy-Vee and our customers for over 43 years," Jurgens said of his retirement decision. "I’m eternally grateful for the support and guidance given to me by our employees throughout our eight-state area. Since I’ve given my entire working life to Hy-Vee, the future of our company is very important to me. I retire with great confidence knowing that we have a strong, talented leader in Randy Edeker, and knowing he is surrounded by an outstanding team of executives at every level who will make Hy-Vee even better in the years to come."

In addition to acknowledging Jurgens, GMA also plans to honor Dean Pappas, CEO of Clement Pappas and Company, a leading supplier of private label fruit juices and beverages and cranberry sauce. Pappas joined the family-owned company in 1962 and served as CEO until last June when the business was sold.

“Lifetime achievement is the hallmark of the GMA Hall of Achievement Award, and by that standard, no two people are more deserving than Ric Jurgens and Dean Pappas,” said GMA president and CEO Pam Bailey. “Their business savvy, their desire to make the world a better place and their compassion for their associates, their communities and their consumers sets them apart.”

The awards will be presented during a ceremony at the GMA Executive Conference held August 25-27 in Colorado Springs.

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FINANCE

Most retailers beat sales estimates in May

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — With only a few exceptions, retailers are posting solid gains in May, with such chains as Target, TJX, Ross and TJX Cos. beating Wall Street forecasts for the month. The Thomson Reuters Same-Store Index, which tracks the stores that release monthly sales reports, is expected to rise 3.6% in May.

"Analysts are taking a careful approach to May same-store sales given the cautious tone issued by most retailers on second-quarter earnings guidance," said Ken Perkins of Retail Metrics, in a research report.

Despite the caution, analysts are spotlighting some unexpected stars in the specialty store arena. The Limited saw same-store sales rise 6% in May, beating the forecasted 4.7% rise. Zumiez same-store sales surged 13.7%, beating the 6.6% expected rise and marking the ninth consecutive month the specialty retailer has beaten Wall Street estimates.

Gap’s comps were up 2%, but missed the forecasted 3.1% rise.CEO Glenn Murphy said in a statement that customers had reacted favorably to summer clothing. Last year at this time, Gap recorded a 4% decline in same-store sales.

In North America, Gap’s Old Navy banner was the company’s only chain to report a decline in same-store sales, losing 1%. Gap’s rose 6%, and Banana Republic posted an 8% rise, both reversing declines they recorded a year ago.

Teen apparel retailer Buckle surprised with only a slight 0.2% bump in same-store sales, missing the estimated 3.3% gain.

Among other specialty retailers, same-store sales fell 8.8% at Wet Seal, a wider decline than the 8.3% drop analysts were expecting.

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