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The Walking Co. to Buy Steve’s Shoes

BY CSA STAFF

Santa Barbara, Calif., The Walking Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Dog Holdings, Inc., agreed to acquire substantially all of the assets of Steve’s Shoes, Inc. for approximately $4.2 million in a bankruptcy auction. Steve’s Shoes is one of the largest independent comfort shoe retailers in the country. Steve’s Shoes operates 45 stores in 22 states, primarily in the Midwest, under the store names Steve’s Shoes, Overland Trading Co., and Sole Outdoors. The Company total annual sales of about $35 million.

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Hot Topic Exec Departs

BY CSA STAFF

City of Industry, Calif., Patricia Van Cleave, formerly the president of Hot Topic’s Torrid division, has resigned to pursue other interests, the company reported. Betsy McLaughlin will assume oversight for Torrid temporarily.

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Federated Projects First-Quarter Loss

BY CSA STAFF

Cincinnati, Federated Department Stores said it expects to post a loss in the fiscal first quarter amid weaker sales in existing stores. The company projects a loss of 5? to 15 cents per share in the quarter, on sales of between $5.75 billion to $6 billion. Same-store sales are expected to decline between half a percent to 1.5%.

Federated said it expects fiscal 2006 sales of $27.25 billion to $27.75 billion, with the largest portion coming in the second half of the year. Full-year same-store sales are expected to rise from 2% to 3%.

“The integration of Federated and May Company is on track and we are optimistic about the success of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s a national brands,” said Federated CEO Terry Lundgren said in a statement. “Forecasting for 2006 with precision is particularly challenging because of the number of variables related to the integration. While 2006 is a transition year, we expect significant improvement in 2007 and a return to our historical peak levels of profitability, adjusted for the impact of the sale of credit portfolios, by the 2008-2009 period.”

Three new stores are planned to open in 2006, including a Bloomingdale’s in downtown San Francisco. The chain has budgeted capital expenditures at $1.6 billion for the year, followed by $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion in subsequent years.

Federated’s Bridal Group and Lord & Taylor divisions, which the company intends to divest, are being treated as discontinued operations. They are excluded from sales and earnings guidance.

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