FINANCE

Whole Foods Extends Tender for Wild Oats

BY CSA STAFF

Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market Inc. said Friday it extended the expiration date for its tender offer to purchase Wild Oats Markets Inc. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 15.

As of Aug. 9, a total of 16.64 million common shares of Wild Oats were tendered and not withdrawn, representing about 55.6% of the company’s 29.93 million outstanding shares as of July 27.

In February, Whole Foods Market agreed to buy Wild Oats for about $565 million. However, the Federal Trade Commission filed a suit in June to block the proposed acquisition on antitrust grounds, and sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction pending a trial on the merits.

Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats consented to a temporary restraining order pending a hearing on the preliminary injunction, which concluded Aug. 1.

The parties anticipate receiving a ruling from the federal district court in mid-August.

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TJX July comps beat company’s expectations

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. The TJX Companies today reported that sales for the four-week period ended Aug. 4, were $1.3 billion, up 8% over the $1.2 billion achieved during the four-week period ended Aug. 5, 2006. For the 26 weeks ended Aug. 4, sales reached $8.5 billion, an 8% increase over last year’s $7.9 billion. Consolidated comparable-store sales for the four-week period ended Aug. 4 increased 5% over last year.

Carol Meyrowitz, president and ceo of The TJX Companies, stated, “Continuing our trend, July consolidated comparable-store sales were above our expectations, underscoring our belief that customers find our values on brand name fashions compelling, even in difficult consumer environments. As we move into the beginning of the fall season, our stores offer a great mix of brands and fashions. With three months of consistently strong performance, we look forward to reporting operating results for the second quarter.”

The company now expects second quarter earnings per share from continuing operations, excluding costs related to the previously announced computer intrusion(s), slightly above the high end of its previously expected range of 34 cents to 36 cents. The company continues to expect that second quarter earnings per share from continuing operations will be reduced by an estimated 2 cents to 3 cents for costs incurred during the second quarter related to the intrusion(s).

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Gap Inc. reports 7% drop in comp-sales

BY CSA STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO Gap Inc. today reported net sales of $1.054 billion for the four-week period ended Aug. 4, which is an increase of 1% compared to net sales of $1.047 billion for the four-week period ended July 29, 2006. The company’s comparable-store sales for July decreased 7% compared with a 4% decrease as reported in July 2006.

For the thirteen weeks ended Aug. 4, total company net sales were $3.69 billion, which is a decrease of 1% as compared to net sales of $3.72 billion for the thirteen weeks ended July 29, 2006. The company’s second quarter comparable-store sales decreased 5% compared with a decrease of 5% in the second quarter of the prior year.

For the second quarter of fiscal year 2007, the company expects diluted earnings per share on a GAAP basis to be 17 cents to 18 cents. This includes a benefit of about 1 cent per share from tax rate adjustments impacting the second quarter; a loss of 1 cent per share related to the discontinued operation of Forth & Towne and 1 cent per share of expenses associated with the company’s ongoing cost reduction initiatives.

Excluding the loss associated with the discontinued operation of Forth & Towne and the expenses associated with the cost reduction initiatives, the company expects diluted earnings per share for the second quarter of fiscal year 2007 to be 19 cents to 20 cents.

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