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Vitamin Shoppe opens distribution center in Virginia

BY Dan Berthiaume

North Bergen, N.J. – Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. has opened a new 311,740-sq.-ft. distribution center in Ashland, Va. The center began receiving inbound inventory in June 2013 and outbound shipments to stores began in September 2013.

As of October 15, 2013, the center was shipping inventory to 56 Vitamin Shoppe stores located in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana. The center, which was built to the Vitamin Shoppe’s specifications, features state-of-the art conveyor and picking and packing systems to move goods and orders throughout the facility.

"The opening of this distribution center was a large undertaking for the team as we positioned the company for future growth,” said Tony Truesdale, CEO of Vitamin Shoppe. “I am very pleased with our supply chain team and their ability to successfully execute against this significant project. The facility opened on time and on budget. We began with shipments to 14 stores and have added delivery to more stores every week. Given the success that we have experienced with the service levels, we expect the Ashland DC to be servicing 120 stores by year-end."

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Advance Auto Parts to expands footprint with GPII acquisition

BY CSA STAFF

Advance Auto Parts plans to acquire General Parts International in an all-cash transaction worth $2.04 billion. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

General Parts International is a leading privately held distributor and supplier of original equipment and aftermarket replacement products for commercial markets operating under the Carquest and Worldpac brands.

The transaction will create the largest automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America, with annual sales of more than $9.2 billion and more than 70,000 employees, which will accelerate Advance’s growth strategy and enhance shareholder value.

O. Temple Sloan III, president of General Parts International will continue to serve as president of the company. He will report to Darren Jackson, CEO of Advance Auto Parts, and is expected to join the Advance Auto Parts board of directors. The combined company will be headquartered in Roanoke, Va., and will continue to maintain a presence in Raleigh, N.C.

“This transformational transaction provides a compelling strategic opportunity for Advance to expand our geographic presence and commercial capabilities to better serve customers,” said Jackson. “The addition of 1,246 company-operated stores and 1,418 independently owned Carquest locations provides us with an immediate platform and scale across North America, full market coverage and the opportunity to position ourselves as the market leader in the commercial business. We believe the combination of the two companies is a great fit and the synergy of GPII’s assets with our capabilities will allow us to capitalize on market opportunities that will create value for our shareholders and provide even better service to our customers. We welcome and look forward to working with the talented leaders and team members from GPII.”

“We are excited to bring together two highly complementary automotive aftermarket companies. The combination with Advance Auto Parts is the next logical step in our company’s evolution,” added Sloan. “Advance’s retail presence, strong capability infrastructure and acquisition integration experience combined with GPII’s leadership in the commercial, independent and import segments creates a powerful platform to drive profitable growth. With a more robust offering and a shared focus on best-in-class customer service, our combined business will continue to deliver value for customers and shareholders.”

Advance anticipates that the transaction will result in approximately $160 million of annual run-rate synergies to be fully realized within three years after closing.

“This strategic transaction presents an exciting opportunity for value creation and Advance is dedicated to delivering on the compelling financial potential this combination creates while remaining committed to maintaining our investment grade credit rating,” said Mike Norona, CFO of Advance Auto Parts.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to close by late 2013 or early 2014.

Financial advisers to Advance Auto Parts are Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P. and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and legal adviser is Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Financial adviser to General Parts International are Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and the Orr Group, LLC and legal advisers are Manning Fulton & Skinner, P.A. and Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P.

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Class-action suit hits J.C. Penney

BY Dan Berthiaume

Plano, Texas – Law firm Wites & Kaplan, P.A. says class-action lawsuits have been filed that allege that JC Penny Company, Inc. and certain of its officers and directors committed violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The complaints allege that the company made materially false and misleading statements to the investing public about the company’s financial health, including that the company would not have sufficient money to operate through the end of the year, that it would require additional investments to get through the holiday season, and that it hid this information so as not to worry its vendors.

It is alleged that J.C. Penney’s stock reached artificially high prices as a result, followed by a secondary share offering to obtain funds needed to continue operations which dropped share prices 13%. Investors who purchased J.C. Penney common stock between Aug. 20 and Sept. 26, 2013 may have a legal claim against J.C. Penney.

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