FINANCE

Talbots Finalizes Credit Facility

BY CSA STAFF

Hingham, Mass. The Talbots announced Friday that it has finalized the terms of the previously announced $50 million unsecured subordinated working capital term-loan credit facility with Aeon (U.S.A.), Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Aeon Co., Ltd., and the majority shareholder of The Talbots, Inc.

The new $50 million credit facility, which matures on January 28, 2012, supplements the company’s currently existing working capital lines of credit of $165 million and increases its total working-capital borrowing capacity to $215 million.

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Exclusive: Ideastox encourages customer participation in business operations

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK The silver lining in any economic downturn is that it unleashes pent-up ideas that might not get a hearing while companies pursue growth trends–the very trends that get undermined by business cycle downswings.

Ideastox and its founder and ceo Adrienne Becker look forward to a more participatory relationship between businesses and their customers as the wheel turns through its latest retrograde and starts spinning up again. Already, retailers such as Staples, with its Innovation Quest contest, and Wal-Mart, with its initiatives to tap its associates in establishing sustainability programs, have demonstrated that gaining insight from a broad, interested audience can lead to actionable new ideas and, at the same time, enhance enthusiasm among those who make up that audience.

The site www.Ideastox.com encourages participants across the Web to develop ideas to a range of problems from the technical to the everyday. The ideas may be from people with an expertise, such as a carpenter proposing pre-fab structures, or those who see a better way of dealing with issues they commonly confront, such as a recent college graduate posing a better way to display grab-and-go products for folks who want to make the most of their evenings.

Looking forward, Becker said retailers can get ahead of the idea curve by taking initiatives designed to tap and excite grassroots energy and extending them to as wide an audience as possible using concepts such as Ideastox.

While a lot of retailer energy right now is going into keeping organizations battened down through turbulent times, those who are thinking now about smooth seas ahead, and what kind of winds will be driving the next growth phase of the economy, could seize an important advantage.

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Stride Rite opens new format in NYC

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK The Stride Rite Children’s Group, a subsidiary of Collective Brands, has announced the launch of a new store format, Collections by Stride Rite(TM), which combines separate, dedicated shopping areas for kids seven to ten years old, with an environment for parents to shop for baby and toddler shoes.

The 1,800-square-foot store is located at 1542 3rd Ave at 87th Street in New York City. Stride Rite said it has plans to roll out similar stores later this year in select high-fashion shopping locations.

The store features a dedicated shopping environment for youth at the front with fun colors, hip lighting, and displays of “grown-up” must-have styles from the Stride Rite portfolio. Towards the back of the store, the environment transitions to a softer atmosphere more suitable for babies and toddlers. Dividing the two sections is the cash wrap and the Stride Rite custom 3D Fit Machine, a system that captures the full 3D shape of a child’s foot.

“Collections by Stride Rite recognizes the significant range of branded products we now carry in our stores for children zero to 10 years old,” said Pam Salkovitz, president of the Stride Rite Children’s Group. “The new store format is tailored to the different shopping needs of parents with babies and toddlers from that of youth up to 10 years old. We have created a front-of-store area dedicated to youth and a shopping area tailored to baby shoe shopping in the back of the store. We believe this offers a fabulous and convenient shopping experience tailored to the needs of growing families.”

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