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REI celebrates 80th year with record sales

BY Marianne Wilson

Eighty years after REI was founded by Lloyd and Mary Anderson with 21 of their fellow outdoor adventurers, the nation’s largest consumer co-op is stronger than ever.

The specialty outdoor retailer on Monday reported $2.62 billion in sales in 2017 (up 2.5% from 2016), and 17 million members. REI said it welcomed nearly one million new members and reinvested nearly 70% of profits in 2017, supporting employee retirement, helping fund trail work, returning dividends to its members and supporting nonprofits that get people into the outdoors.

“As a co-op, we are a different kind of company,” said REI CEO Jerry Stritzke. “Our founders were bold enough to think about doing business differently, which is why we hold ourselves accountable to a ‘quadruple bottom line’: measuring not just how we do as a business, but how we drive impact for our employees, our members and society.”

The year 2017 was also a landmark year in REI’s commitment to advancing better ways of doing business. REI sourced 100% renewable power for all its operations in 2017, fought for the preservation of national public lands, launched an effort to promote gender equality in the outdoors and inspired millions to spend Black Friday outside by closing down operations on the day.

“REI has always chosen the uncommon path. As we think about the co-op’s next 80 years, we will do more of the same, inspired by our unchanging belief that a life outdoors is a life well lived,” said Stritzke.

In 2017, REI investED $8.8 million into more than 1,000 outdoor places, returnED $196.3 million to members through dividends and credit card rebates, and give $56.5 million to employees through profit-sharing and retirement.

It also launched new product sustainability standards that apply to each of the more than 1,000 brands sold at the co-op. The standards mark a major step forward in sustainability for the outdoor and retail industries, and make it easier for millions of outdoor enthusiasts to find and choose more sustainable products, contributing to the future health of the outdoors.

REI opened four new stores in 2017, in Dillon, Colorado; Winter Park, Florida; Burbank, California and Rochester, New York, for a total of 151 stores in 36 states.

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Report: Supervalu considering options, including sale

BY CSA Staff

Grocery wholesale and retailer Supervalu may be putting itself up for sale.

Supervalu is working with an adviser to consider options including a potential sale, reported Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the matter. The company has been under pressure from activist investor Blackwells Capital to give it board seats and “unlock” the value of its owned real estate, whose value it said exceeds Supervalu’s market cap.

Blackwells Capital has nominated six directors for election at the company’s annual meeting.

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Nine West files for bankruptcy; to sell namesake brand

BY Marianne Wilson

Massive debt has finally taken its toll on Nine West.

Nine West Holdings Inc. said Friday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with a plan to sell its namesake and Bandolino footwear and handbag businesses as part of its reorganization to Authentic Brands Group. The company said it plans to revamp its capital structure around its profitable businesses, including Anne Klein, Kasper Group, The Jewelry Group and One Jeanswear Group.

“This is the right step to address our two divergent business profiles,” said Ralph Schipani, CEO, Nine West Holdings. “We will retain our strong, profitable and growing apparel, jewelry, and jeanswear businesses and continue to operate them under a new capital structure so that we can leverage their existing strengths to drive even greater growth.”

Nine West has one of the highest leverage ratios in the industry, with debt exceeding 19 times adjusted earnings, according to Moody’s Investors Service. (Its Chapter 11 filing listed debts of more than $1 billion.) The company missed a debt interest payment in March, setting off a 30-day period which the company must either make the payment or face bankruptcy.

“Once we complete the reorganization process, our company will have meaningfully reduced debt and interest costs and be well positioned for the future,” said Schipani.

Nine West was bought by Sycamore in 2014, when the private equity firm acquired the brand’s parent company, Jones Group Inc., in a deal valued at $2.2 billion.

Authentic Brands, which recently announced it would buy the Nautica brand from VF Corp., is the owner and licensor for a diverse range of brands including Frye, Jones New York, Juicy Couture, Greg Norman and Frederick’s of Hollywood. It will submit an initial bid for Nine West and Bandolino, and an auction will test the market for higher offers.

Nine West has received $300 million in debtor-in-possession financing and has entered into a restructuring agreement with the parties that hold more than 78% of its secured-term debt and more than 89% of its unsecured term debt, which the company said will provide it with the liquidity needed over the course of its case.

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