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Zale and Other Retailers Announce Store Closures

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas Zale Corp. said Tuesday that it will close 60 stores in the next 90 days, joining a growing list of retailers announcing post-holiday store consolidations.

Without identifying the stores, chief administrative officer Rodney Carterc said the chain plans to close 60 unprofitable Zales, Gordon’s and Piercing Pagoda locations and “several dozen more” later this year.

Zale also is cutting its capital spending to $85 million this year from a planned $100 million, he told the Cowen & Co. annual consumer conference in New York City.

In another announcement, Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. said Tuesday it will close 12 stores and two service centers, cutting operating costs amid a slowdown in the housing market. Meanwhile, Liz Claiborne Inc. said last week that it is shuttering its 54-store Sigrid Olsen chain.

On Jan. 4, Talbots Inc. said it is closing 66 Talbots Kids and 12 Talbots Men’s stores. And on the same day, Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. said it is shuttering the remaining 154 stores in its demo chain.

Macy’s Inc. also recently announced that it was closing nine additional stores, including one in Dallas at Valley View Center. Some analysts predict the retailer will announce more closings.

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Kmart Pharmacy lowers flu shot price

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. Kmart is lowering the price on flu shots at its pharmacies, the company announced Tuesday.

Customers can now receive a flu shot for just $10 at most Kmart Pharmacies while supplies last. The price in California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming may be slightly higher due to state regulations.

“People need to remember that flu season is in full swing, and it can strike at any time, so we are lowering prices to encourage more people to do what they can to protect themselves,” said Mark Doerr, RPh, vp of Kmart Pharmacy. “While the flu season has not been as severe as some recent years, the latest CDC updates report that flu activity is on the rise.”

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Crescendo seeks Charming Shoppes representation

BY CSA STAFF

BENSALEM, Pa. Charming Shoppes Tuesday confirmed that it has received notice that Crescendo Partners II L.P., Series Q, intends to nominate three individuals, including two hedge fund representatives, for election to Charming Shoppes’ board of directors at the company’s 2008 annual meeting of shareholders.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Charming Shoppes board of directors and management team said that they have begun discussions with Crescendo partners and will continue doing so as long as they are constructive. The company added that it will not be distracted by the threat of a proxy contest from a dissident shareholder group.

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