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Bebe Stores in joint venture to acquire European retailer

BY Marianne Wilson

Bebe Stores is in buying mode.

The company said it formed a joint venture, GAEBB Group, with Great American Group LLC to to purchase the assets of European fashion retailer Charles Vögele GmbH. The purchase price was not revealed.

The deal comes on the heels of Bebe’s acquisition of bankrupt Brookstone. On October 22, 2018, Austrian insolvency administrators approved the Charles Vögele restructuring plan. As part of the restructuring plan, GA Europe, a division of Great American Group, is executing a store closure program which will enable the retailer to focus on its remaining profitable operations. This deal broadens Great American Group’s footprint across Europe with expanded presence in Austria, Slovenia and Hungary.

“We are excited to partner with GA Europe on this opportunity,” said Manny Mashouf, CEO of bebe stores. “Charles Vögele has a strong reputation in the consumer marketplace, and I believe our combined expertise allows us to take this unique investment opportunity and realize the value of this brand.”

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New York & Company to change name

BY Marianne Wilson

Say goodbye to New York & Company — to the corporate name that is.

The women’s apparel retailer announced that it will be changing its name to RTW Retailwinds, effective Monday, November 19, 2018. The company’s common stock will begin trading under the new name on the New York Stock Exchange as of the opening of trading on Tuesday, Nov. 20, and its ticker symbol will change to “RTW.”

The name change, which was announced back in September, is part of New York & Co.’s new strategy that is designed to drive sales to over $1 billion. It includes such new initiatives as expanding the company’s plus-size brand, Fashion to Figure (which it acquired at a bankruptcy auction last year), introducing a lingerie lifestyle brand, and debuting a Kate Hudson casual lifestyle collection. Both the lingerie brand and the Kate Hudson collection will have their own digital sites.

In addition, the retailer plans to accelerate growth of its core namesake brand through ongoing celebrity partnerships, including collaborations with Eva Mendes, and Gabrielle Union.

“RTW reflects our vision to maximize the power of our platform to create destination celebrity and lifestyle brand assortments across categories and channels,” said CEO Greg Scott. “We move forward strongly positioned to continue our expansion of NY&Co, expanding celebrity brands with the upcoming launch of Kate Hudson and entering intimate apparel – a core competency of our team.”

New York & Co. operates 428 retail and outlet locations in 36 states and a growing e-commerce business. Its brands include New York & Company, Fashion to Figure, and branded merchandise, including collaborations with Eva Mendes, Gabrielle Union and Kate Hudson.

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Sally Beauty Q4 earnings beat Street, sales fall

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Despite driving strong digital sales and earnings in the fourth quarter, Sally Beauty ended its fiscal year with lagging same-store sales.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Sally Beauty’s revenue was$965.99 million, missing Zacks analysts estimates of $968.1 million. Earnings per share hit 51 cents, which was 3 cents higher than the analyst estimates of 48 cents. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization fell by 5.7% to $141.9 million, as adjusted EBITDA margin dropped 70 basis points to 14.7% from the same period a year earlier.

The company’s net earnings rose 54.5% to $55.2 million. Sally Beauty’s same-store sales dropped by 0.2%, however global digital sales rose by 30.1% compared to the prior year.

For the year, earnings were $426.6 million, and sales were $3.93 billion, a decrease of 0.1%. Same-store sales declined 1.5%.

“As our quarterly results demonstrate, we are making solid progress on our transformation plan,” said Chris Brickman, president and CEO.

“We are playing to win by re-focusing our business around our differentiated core of hair color and care, improving our execution of basic retail fundamentals and advancing our digital commerce capabilities,” Brickman said. “We are continuing to drive costs out of the business, which is enabling investment in our transformation. We recognize that we still have work to do. With our key accomplishments from the quarter and the recent management changes we have implemented, we are confident that we are moving in the right direction.”

Looking ahead to 2019, the company expects full year consolidated same-store sales to be approximately flat, and full year adjusted earnings are expected to decline slightly as compared to the prior year. This will be driven primarily by an improvement in same-store sales offset by the slightly higher adjusted selling, general and administrative expenses. The outlook is also based on key investments being made to drive long-term growth, and benefits of cost-savings initiatives already underway that are expected to offset the majority of investments.

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