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Whole Foods, Wild Oats Protest FTC Suit

BY CSA STAFF

Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market said Tuesday it will challenge a decision by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a complaint seeking to block its pending acquisition of smaller rival Wild Oats Market.

Wild Oats Market said separately it will cooperate with Whole Foods’ challenge.

The FTC will file a complaint in the U.S. District Court of Columbia and ask the court to enter a temporary restraining order to prohibit the acquisition from proceeding until the court has resolved the request for a preliminary injunction, according to Whole Foods.

Previously, the FTC said it was considering challenging the $565 million acquisition because of perceived anticompetitive effects.

“We are very disappointed by the decision and we intend to vigorously challenge the FTC in court,” said John Mackey, Whole Foods chairman and chief executive.

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article-3241.xml

BY CSA STAFF
RANKCHAIN CODES: APP: Apparel & Accessories • AUTO: Automotives Aftermarket Parts Chain • BABY: Baby Goods Superstore • BOOK: Books Superstore • CE: Consumer Electronics & Computers Chain • CLOSE: Closeout Merchandise Chain • CLUB: Warehouse Club • CRAFT: Hobby & Crafts Chain • DDS: Discount Department Store • DIY: Do-It-Yourself Home Center Chain • DLR-VALU: Dollar Stores & Extreme-Value Chain • DRUG: Drug Store • ENT: Entertainment Software • E-TAIL: Electronic Media Retailer • FARM: Farm Goods Chain • HOME: Home Goods & Housewares Chain • JWLRY: Jewelry Retailer • MISC: Miscellaneous • MLTRY: Military Retail Outpost • OFFICE: Office Supply Superstore • PARTY: Party Supply Superstore • PDS: Promotional Department Store • PETS: Pet Supply Superstore • SPORT: Sporting Goods Chain • SPR-MKT: National/Super-Regional Grocer • SPR-CNTR: Supercenter • TOY: Toy Specialty Chain PVT: Denotes Private Co. • CP: Corp. Parent Ticker • ( ): Decline or loss • N/A: Not Available/Not Applicable • e: estimate • *Operating Income or EBIT, unless noted • Corporate revenue may exceed division sales totals because of non-retail revenue not listed. Acquired 44 Rampage stores 6/30/06Figures incl. Gottschalks dept. stores, specialty stores and Village East locationsDivision of Micro Electronics Inc.Amscan acquired Party City 12/23/05 and Party America 9/29/06; figures are for combined entity; store counts incl. company-owned and franchised locations under all company bannersSales, earnings figures incl. rental asset revenuesFigures incl. Books-A-Million, Books & Co. and Bookland bannersFigures incl. Hibbett, Sport Additions and Sports & Co. locations
  COMPANY   SALES (IN MILLIONS) EARNINGS* (IN MILLIONS) STORE COUNT    
’06 ’05 TICKER   CODE ’06 ’05 %CHG ’06 ’05 %CHG 1/06 1/07 1/08e
122 117 PVT Goody’s Family Clothing Inc., Knoxville, Tenn. APP $1,286e $1,279e 0.55% N/A N/A N/A 381 383 385
123 125 CPWM Cost Plus Inc., Oakland, Calif. HOME 1,040 970 7.22 ($27) ($31) N/A 267 287 299
124 122 NDN 99 Cents Only Stores, City of Commerce, Pa. DLR-VALU 1,024 1,012 1.19 39 12 225.00% 223 232 267
125 124 PVT Beall’s Inc., Bradenton, Fla. PDS 1,009e 1,000e 0.90 N/A N/A N/A 560 565 570
126 126 TUES Tuesday Morning Corp., Addison, Texas CLOSE 911 932 (2.25) 58 97 (40.21) 732 795 845
127 130 GMTN Gander Mountain Co., Minneapolis, Minn. SPORT 911 804 13.31 15 (2) N/A 98 105 115
128 129 BGFV Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp., El Segundo, Calif. SPORT 877 814 7.74 58 50 16.00 324 343 361
129 128 CTR The Cato Corp., Charlotte, N.C. APP 876 836 4.78 80 70 14.29 1,244 1,276 1,351
130 132 PVT BrandsMart USA, Hollywood, Fla. CE 858e 751e 14.25 N/A N/A N/A 7 8 8
131 131 TWTR Tweeter Home Entertainment Inc., Canton, Mass. ENT 775 795 (2.52) (14) (47) N/A 159 153 153
132 133 PVT Variety Wholesalers Inc., Raleigh, N.C. DLR-VALU 742e 728e 1.92 N/A N/A N/A 504 510 540
133 137 PVT Forever 21 Inc., Los Angeles, Calif.1 APP 735e 652e 12.73 N/A N/A N/A 346 390 413
134 135 PVT Bi-Mart Corp., Eugene, Ore. CLUB 695e 715e (2.80) N/A N/A N/A 64 65 65
135 138 PVT Modell’s Sporting Goods, New York, N.Y. SPORT 682e 652e 4.60 N/A N/A N/A 127 133 138
136 136 GOT Gottschalks Inc., Fresno, Calif.2 PDS 681 665 2.41 14 17 (17.65) 69 65 67
137 139 PVT Kerr Drug Inc., Durham, N.C. DRUG 645e 600e 7.50 N/A N/A N/A 104 102 104
138 144 PVT Kinney Drugs, Gouverneur, N.Y. DRUG 607e 525e 15.62 N/A N/A N/A 79 88 98
139 140 PVT Discount Drug Mart Inc., Medina Ohio DRUG 605e 546e 10.81 N/A N/A N/A 64 66 68
140 127 PVT Micro Center, Hilliard, Ohio3 CE 603e 861e (29.97) N/A N/A N/A 19 14 15
141 141 ACMR A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts Inc., Blackwood, N.J. CRAFT 590 539 9.46 5 17 (70.59) 109 122 138
142 147 PVT Amscan Holdings (Party City), Elmsford, N.Y.4 PARTY 561 468 19.87 N/A N/A N/A 502 767 790
143 142 HAST Hastings Entertainment Inc., Amarillo, Texas5 ENT 548 538 1.86 11 12 (8.33) 153 154 157
144 143 PVT McCoy’s Corp., San Marcos, Texas DIY 535e 535e 0.00 N/A N/A N/A 85 85 84
145 134 PVT KB Toys Inc., Pittsfield, Mass. TOY 530e 720e (26.39) N/A N/A N/A 750 549 500
146 145 BAMM Books-A-Million Inc., Birmingham, Ala.6 BOOK 520 504 3.17 30 23 30.43 205 206 213
147 148 HIBB Hibbett Sporting Goods Inc., Birmingham, Ala.7 SPORT 512 440 16.36 62 52 19.23 549 613 700
148 150 PVT Garden Ridge Corp., Houston, Texas CRAFT 481e 415e 15.90 N/A N/A N/A 35 35 35
149 146 PVT Meek’s Buliding Centers, Lockwood, Mo. DIY 475e 475e 0.00 N/A N/A N/A 45 45 44
150 149 DUCK Duckwall-ALCO Stores Inc., Abilene, Kan. DDS 475 433 9.70 9 6 50.00 251 256 276

  SHARE OF TOP 150 SALES (IN MILLIONS) STORE COUNT
    ’06 ’05 %CHG 1/06 1/07 1/08e
TOP 10 52.88% $856,867 $779,248 9.96% 30,650 33,721 35,406
TOP 25 73.61 1,192,923 1,065,050 12.01 54,576 59,222 61,973
TOP 50 85.98 1,393,323 1,257,671 10.79 94,128 97,276 100,471
TOP 100 96.48 1,563,464 1,412,373 10.70 134,448 139,810 144,661
TOP 150 100.00 1,620,526 1,465,549 10.57 154,395 161,132 167,032

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Localization among top Meijer priorities

BY CSA STAFF

Meijer co-chairman and ceo Hank Meijer and president Mark Murray sat down with Retailing Today senior editor Mike Duff at the FMI Show last month to discuss the company’s localized merchandising strategy and how suppliers can help it reach its goals. The discussion also ranged from chain growth to prototype development, including the company’s new “green” Allen Park, Mich., store. Excerpts from the conversation provide an impression about where Meijer is headed and for a fuller account of the company’s plans go tohttp://www.retailingtoday.com/dsnrt/surveys/ .

RT: Meijer wants to localize its merchandising and assortment to better serve the communities each store serves. How can suppliers help?

MURRAY: You have to edit for the customer. There is so much available. It’s no small thing to understand the consumer better through their eyes. Working with our national partners, we have exactly the same interest in the capacity to localize our stores. They have the same interest in that localization question.

RT: You are remodeling the Alpine store in Grand Rapids, which was one of your prototypes a few years ago. What is changing there?

MURRAY: It’s easier to shop. Lower gondolas, clearer site line, simpler signage. Our manufacturing friends are learning from us that we’re getting an additional strength in our commitment to really owning the signage and display in our own stores, so occasionally, when they come with ideas that would not match our standards, there’s a quicker response from us. We see real value in cleaning up sightlines, simpler signage, lower, more open, easier to shop …

MEIJER: … bringing health and beauty care to the front so the whole feel-good area of health and beauty is taken forward …

MURRAY: … bigger pet section. Pet obviously has taken off in a lot of places and that’s going well for us.

RT: With your new Allen Park store, is the environmental character defined more by new merchandising and product assortment or is the main thrust in the building and site?

MEIJER: That’s our first LEED-certified building, so that’s about the construction and the site development. The merchandising will have the full array of organics but will essentially be the same as its counterpart stores.

RT: How does Allen Park speak to the consumer about Meijer’s commitment to sustainability?

MEIJER: To the extent that it’s LEED-certified, which is a first for us, I hope it speaks volumes about our interest in building environmentally sensitive stores. We’ve still got a lot of learning to do about the cost issues involved as we look at other buildings, but this is part of that learning process.

MURRAY: We’re getting a lot of learning out of it, whether it’s on the utilities, heating and cooling, water use, landscaping. I fully expect there will be significant elements out of the LEED-certified Allen Park store that help in other areas. I go back to my previous life at [Grand Valley State] university, when we got into LEED-certified buildings, it really helped us. Every time we did one of those projects it made us realize how you do the next project well. A really simple example of it is recycled building materials. We all know what a work site looks like with the load luggers going out the back and off to the dump. It turns out you can recycle 80%, 90% of building materials, and the main thing it takes is separation at the site, which really isn’t very hard. Instead of taking five runs of the same dumpster, you’ve got five dumpsters back there. It really isn’t that hard but until you’ve gone through the exercise, you don’t necessarily know it. So the learnings are coming, and we’ll see the benefits in other buildings. Whether we get to full LEED certification is a different matter. But there’s no question that there will be learnings from the environmental work we’ve done in the Allen Park stores for other constructions.

RT: Meijer has focused on filling in some major markets recently including Detroit, Chicago and Cincinnati, but what is the outlook for expansion into fresh markets?

MEIJER: A lot of that has to do with our rate of expansion, certainly, particularly when there is an opportunity to build a lot more stores in Chicago, and what opportunities remain within our existing footprint. I think the industry has discovered that, if you’ve got the right mix of products you can build the kinds of stores we operate closer together than people once thought. We’ve seen a lot of our largest competitors doing a lot more of that so we’ve been able to find more opportunities within our existing footprint than we imagined there were 10 years ago.

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