FINANCE

Sycamore Partners to acquire Hot Topic for $600 million

BY Marianne Wilson

City of Industry, Calif. — Hot Topic announced it has agreed to be acquired by New York-based private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $14.00 per share in cash, or a total of approximately $600 million.

The agreement, unanimously approved by Hot Topic’s board of directors, represents a premium of approximately 30% over Hot Topic’s closing stock price on March 6, 2013.

“We are pleased that this transaction will allow us to deliver positive results for our shareholders," said Hot Topic CEO Lisa Harper. "In addition, we are very excited about the future growth for the company and know that Sycamore Partners will provide great resources and expertise to us as we operate as a private company.”

As of February 2, 2013, Hot Topic operated 618 namesake stores in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada; 190 Torrid stores; and five Blackheart stores.

Sycamore Partners acquired Talbot’s in 2012.

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News

Brooks Brothers taps Demandware to power digital commerce initiatives

BY Staff Writer

Burlington, Mass. — Demandware, a leading provider of enterprise cloud commerce solutions, announced that Brooks Brothers launched a new e-commerce site on the Demandware Commerce platform.

Brooks Brothers is leveraging Demandware as the digital foundation to extend the service, quality and timeless style the iconic retailer has been delivering for nearly 200 years to digital channels. A critical component of Brooks Brothers’ omni-channel strategy, the new site will be tightly integrated into new merchandising and store systems. The company also plans to use Demandware for international expansion.

Brooks Brothers selected Demandware because it enables the company to execute its digital commerce strategies with speed and agility. In addition, Demandware’s cloud model provides operational efficiencies and better economics for Brooks Brothers’ complex environment that includes many different and evolving product categories, a proliferation of customer data and intelligence, and an ever-increasing amount of content to help consumers research and purchase products. With Demandware, Brooks Brothers is able to effectively manage multiple sites across geographies and channels.

Over the past two centuries, many things have changed, but Brooks Brothers’ commitment to innovation and a superior brand experience has not wavered,” said Ken Seiff, EVP, direct and omni-channel at Brooks Brothers. “We want to serve our customers in the most exceptional ways regardless of which channel they choose to engage with us. This means knowing their preferences and providing a personalized shopping experience at all times.”

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S.Hance says:
Mar-12-2013 04:00 am

Digital Technology is now
Digital Technology is now growing. It could improve efficiency and effectiveness. - Peter F. Spittler

S.Hance says:
Mar-12-2013 04:00 am

Digital Technology is now growing. It could improve efficiency and effectiveness. - Peter F. Spittler

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OPERATIONS

Report: J.C. Penney lays off 2,200 store and office associates

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The ax has fallen — again — at J.C. Penney Co. The retailer laid off approximately 2,200 employees in its stores and district offices on Wednesday, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The majority of the staff cuts occurred in some 100 stores that had significant sales declines last year, spokeswoman Daphne Avilla said in the report, with Penney adjusting the employee count to match each store’s new level of business.

In addition, administrative and back office jobs were also cut across Penney’s 1,100 stores and in 55 district offices, The Dallas Morning News reported. In stores, department management duties are also being consolidated.

The cuts come as criticism of CEO Ron Johnson and his ambitious plan to transform Penney continues to mount. Former Penney chairman and CEO Allen Questrom has joined the ranks of those calling for Johnson to be replaced.

“All these people are worried about Johnson keeping his job. It’s crazy,” Questrom told The Dallas Morning News in a phone interview on Wednesday. “What about all these Penney employees?

“It’s an old company, and he’s putting the nails in the coffin if they don’t start making some changes. There’s no reason to wait another quarter.”

The board “has allowed this to go on too long,” Questrom said. “I have to believe they are looking for his replacement.”

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