REAL ESTATE

WinCo Foods opens in Bellingham, Wash.

BY Michael Fickes

Boise, Idaho — WinCo Foods will open a 90,000-sq.-ft. discount supermarket in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday.

The new store will initially employ 171. The employee-owned discount food chain operates 88 stores and typically ranks as the low priced leader in the markets where it operates.

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OPERATIONS

Ackman quits J.C. Penney board

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — J.C. Penney Co. announced that activist investor and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has resigned from the board of directors of the company, effective Aug. 12. His resignation comes in the wake of a very public and heated campaign in which he called for the ouster of Penney interim CEO Myron Ullman and chairman Thomas Engibous.

Penney said that retail veteran Ronald W. Tysoe, who spent 16 years as vice chairman at Federated Department Stores Inc. (now Macy’s, Inc.), has been elected to the board, effective Aug. 12. Penney’s board also "reaffirmed its overwhelming support" for Ullman and Engibous.

“The company is extremely fortunate to have the benefit of Ron Tysoe’s judgment and experience at this important time,” Engibous said. “His deep knowledge of the retail industry and his financial expertise will be invaluable to us as we continue the work underway to return J. C. Penney to profitability and growth. I would like to thank Bill Ackman for his service on the board over the past two years."

In addition, Penney’s board said that it intends to name another new director in the near future.

Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital Management owns about 18% of J.C. Penney and is the company’s biggest shareholder, told CNBC he had made some important issues public and the board would now function better without him.

In a statement released by Penney, Ackman said: “During my time on the J.C. Penney board of directors, I have always advocated for what I believe to be in the best interests of the company — its stockholders, employees and others. At this time, I believe that the addition of two new directors and my stepping down from the board is the most constructive way forward for J.C. Penney and all other parties involved.”

Longtime retail analyst Walter Loeb, of Loeb Associates, said Ackman’s presence on the board had been disruptive, Bloomberg reported.

“He caused so much uncertainty in the company,” said Loeb. “Tysoe is well regarded in the retail industry and will bring a calm, measured company…”

Although some analysts noted that Ackman’s resignation will give Pershing Square more latitude to begin selling its stake in the company, Ackman seemed to brush off the idea in his interview with CNBC.

“If I wanted to sell I could have sold all along during the quarterly window,” Ackman told CNBC.

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News

Whirlpool accelerates growth in China’s emerging market

BY CSA STAFF

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Whirlpool Corporation has entered into agreements to become a majority shareholder in Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., a leading home appliances manufacturer based in Hefei, China.

Through this transaction, a Whirlpool Corporation subsidiary will acquire all shares currently owned by Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. and Sanyo Electric Co. (China) Ltd., and purchase new Hefei Sanyo shares via a private placement.

The transaction is subject to customary conditions, certain termination rights, Chinese regulatory approval and Hefei Sanyo shareholders’ approval. After the transaction is approved, Whirlpool will acquire 51% of Hefei Sanyo for approximately RMB 3.4 billion, of $552 million cash, based on the exchange rate as of August 9. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2014, and Whirlpool expects the transaction to be accretive in the first full year of integration.

"Whirlpool has a strong presence in China’s higher tier segments, this acquisition allows the company to build on, complement and grow its position in the emerging Chinese market and to leverage our global enterprise for greater efficiencies," said Jeff Fettig, CEO and chairman of Whirlpool Corporation. "As the leading global manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, we will leverage the technology capabilities of Hefei Sanyo and provide the investments to enhance Hefei Sanyo’s research and development and product innovation capabilities. This will give Chinese consumers a broader range of innovative, high-quality products through our combined trusted portfolio of brands."

"Hefei Sanyo has an established nationwide distribution platform, a scaled manufacturing presence with opportunity for growth, and is ideally located in Hefei, a recognized appliance hub in China,” added Mike Todman, president of Whirlpool International. “Hefei Sanyo is a well-managed, profitable business with great prospects, led by an experienced and capable executive team with a track record of delivering strong performance. "

Whirlpool Corporation’s earnings and cash flow outlook for the full-year 2013 remain unchanged from the last update contained in its earnings release dated July 19.

Whirlpool Corporation is a leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $18 billion in 2012, 68,000 employees and 65 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul and Bauknecht to consumers in nearly every country around the world.

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