FINANCE

Two urban retailers combine forces

BY Marianne Wilson

Two urban-focused athletic footwear and apparel retailers have merged.

Private equity firms Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. and Goode Partners completed a transaction that will merge DTLR and Sneaker Villa (Villa). The merged company will operate nearly 240 stores covering 19 states and the District of Columbia, spanning the East Coast from New York to Florida, the Midwest, the Southeastern U.S. and Texas.

The store footprints of DTLR (formerly known as Downtown Locker Room) and Villa are complementary, with little overlap. Baltimore-based DTLR operates more than 100 stores, mostly in the Mid-Atlantic Region. It has been owned by Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. since 2005. The Philadelphia-based Villa has more than 120 locations, mostly in the Mid-West. It was acquired by Goode Partners in 2013.

"This merger will allow us to better serve our customers, employees and vendor partners" said Glenn Gaynor, CEO of DTLR. "The combination will allow us to enhance the consumer experience by leveraging the best practices of both Villa and DTLR. By combining our talent and resources, we can accelerate growth and expand our reach."

Both DTLR and Villa have "community-centric cultures" and both partner with the top footwear and apparel suppliers.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Consumer confidence high — at least for the time being

BY Marianne Wilson

U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level since January in early August, reflecting optimism in the overall economy and in personal financial prospects.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to 97.6 in the first half of August from 93.4 in July, which was an eight-month low. Economists estimated the index would hit 94 in August.

However, Richard Curtin, chief economist for the University of Michigan's Surveys of Consumers, said backlash over Charlottesville and U.S. President Donald Trump's response could weigh on subsequent survey readings.

"The fallout is likely to reverse the improvement in economic expectations recorded across all political affiliations in early August," Curtin stated. "Moreover, the Charlottesville aftermath is more likely to weaken the economic expectations of Republicans, since prospects for Trump's economic policy agenda have diminished."

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C-SUITE

Sears Canada chairman to make bid for troubled chain

BY CSA STAFF

There's a new person running things at Sears Canada.

Brandon Stranzl, executive chairman of Sears Canada has been removed from his day-to-day responsibilities of running the company in order to work on a management bid for the retailer, the Globe & Mail reported. Sears COO Becky Penrice is now leading the chain's executive team.

The report cited an internal memo regarding Stranzl that said "in light of the approaching bid deadline and focus required to assemble all necessary components of a bid, the board thought it was best for Brandon to focus exclusively on putting the bid together and step away from day-to-day operations of Sears Canada."

The report said that Stranzi wants to keep Sears operating as a going concern.

In June, Sears filed for protection from its creditors and announced it would be restructuring under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

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