Vornado Supports Kmart Acquisition of Sears
New York City, Vornado Realty Trust announced it would back Kmart Holdings Corp. in its proposed acquisition of Sears Roebuck & Co. Vornado, currently holding 1.18 million shares of Sears stock and a derivative position for another 7.9 million shares, said it would elect to receive stock in the new merger.
Paramus, N.J.-based Vornado raised eyebrows in the investment community last November when, shortly before the proposed acquisition was announced, it revealed that it had boosted its holdings in Sears to 4.3%. The announcement triggered speculation that Vornado was planning to redevelop some of Sears’ real estate, much of which is leased at below-market rates.
Sears’ shares have consistently traded higher since the merger was announced in November on the hopes that Vornado might team with a rival retailer to make a competing bid. Any spoiler would be forced to absorb $400 million in break-up fees, part of the Sears-Kmart agreement.
Digital Signage Entertains at Hollister Co
Las Vegas, At GlobalShop 2005, PlayNetwork Inc. announced the release of a case study detailing retailer Hollister’s use of digital signage for in-store entertainment. Live video footage from Huntingdon Beach, Calif., is distributed via closed-circuit network and broadcasted on large “Video Windows” in Hollister stores nationwide. The 5-ft. by 5-ft. liquid-crystal screens are displayed in 3-by-3 configurations.
“This is the first retail digital-signage and entertainment system of its kind featuring 24/7 real-time video for a specific in-store experience,” said Darrell Champagne, PlayNetwork’s VP systems engineering. The technology is just one example of how retailers are using digital signage for in-store branding and to enhance the shopping experience.
Barnes & Noble 4Q Profits Down
New York City, Barnes & Noble, Inc. reported earnings of $115.6 million, or $1.56 per share, for the three months ended Jan. 29, compared with $130.2 million, or $1.65 per share, in the year-ago period. The 11% decline in fourth-quarter profits was influenced by the spin-off of its GameStop division. Sales for the fourth-quarter were $1.67 billion, compared with $1.59 billion in the same period a year ago. Store sales increased 5% to $1.4 billion for the quarter, while comp-store sales rose 1.7%. The bookseller opened 32 new stores and closed 13 branches during the year, ending with 666 stores.
Sales for the B. Dalton division, which comprise about 4% of total bookstore sales, were $60.9 million for the quarter, which is a 24% decrease over the year-ago period. B. Dalton comp-store sales declined 3.2% for the fourth quarter.
For the fiscal year, earnings were $143 million, or $1.93 per share, vs. $151.8 million, or $2.07 per share, a year ago. Total sales for the year were $4.78 billion, up from $4.37 billion a year ago.