FINANCE

Wilsons Sells Outlet Stores for $22M

BY CSA STAFF

Minneapolis Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc. on Tuesday said it sold its outlet stores and online retail assets to a subsidiary of sportswear and outerwear maker G-III Apparel Group Ltd. for about $22.3 million in cash, according to the Associated Press.

AM Apparel Group Inc., a unit of G-III, bought 116 outlet store locations, $18.5 million in inventory, distribution center operations, the Wilsons name and other related trademarks and trade names.

In a statement, G-III CEO Morris Goldfarb said the deal will allow the company to have a “significant” vertical retail operation.

Wilsons said the sale is part of its plan to obtain capital and use it to launch a new mall-accessories store concept.

Wilsons Leather will change its name to PreVu Inc.

Wilsons The Leather Experts has faced declining sales for years amid a weak retail environment. In March it said its fiscal 2007 net loss widened to $96.8 million.

In February the company said it would close the majority of its 260 mall locations and cut more than 1,000 jobs in an effort to improve performance.

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Ceo: Wal-Mart needed more in tough economy

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Speaking at Wal-Mart’s annual shareholders meeting, president and ceo Lee Scott said that Wal-Mart would become increasingly more important to its consumers as economic conditions make it tougher to make ends meet.

Citing rising gas prices, food inflation and higher health care costs, Scott said that the challenge to provide for one’s family has become increasingly more difficult.

“During difficult times in the past, Wal-Mart has been there for our customers and our members, said Scott. “But I think we are there for them now more than ever before.”

Scott highlighted examples of how the company was helping people save money, including its CFL light bulbs, which he said will save consumers nearly $6 billion over the life of the product, and its $4 prescription program, saving customers more than $1.1 billion.

With the presidential election looming, some may have expected Scott to give his insight into which candidate would be best, however, the ceo said that Wal-Mart was ready to work with whoever becomes the new President and the next Congress.

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Ahold reports U.S. sales growth

BY CSA STAFF

AMSTERDAM Ahold reported that first quarter sales at Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover were $5.1 billion, up 1.3% compared with the same period last year. Identical sales were up 1.2% at Stop & Shop (0.2% excluding gasoline net sales) and down 1.5% at Giant-Landover (1.6% excluding gasoline net sales), impacted by lower pharmacy sales.

For the first quarter, net sales at Giant-Carlisle were up 9.2% to $1.4 billion compared with the same period last year. Identical sales were up 5.7% (3.7% excluding gasoline net sales).

Ahold ceo John Rishton said, “In the United States, the roll-out of our Value Improvement Program at Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover remains on track. The price investments related to the roll-out continue to impact margins and sales, with improvements expected later in the year. Giant-Carlisle reported solid sales and margin growth and continues to gain share in a very competitive market. We continue to respond to the turbulent economic environment and its impact on consumer and competitor behavior. We are confident that the actions we are taking to bring value to our customers are the right ones.

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