FINANCE

Sears Canada creditors pressure Sears CEO

BY CSA Staff

Eddie Lampert, the chairman, CEO and controlling shareholder of the beleaguered Sears Holdings, has another problem to deal with.

Creditors of Sears Canada are pointing a figure at Lampert for receiving dividend payments as the Canadian retailer’s business crumbled in 2017, reported CNBC. Lampert and his ESL Investments hedge fund were “major beneficiaries” of roughly $3 billion in dividend payments since 2005, according to the report, which cited court papers served in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice by a group of pensioners.

Writing in a blog post on Sunday, Lampert said that “the [dividend] payments had no impact whatsoever on the Sears Canada pension plans” and “these dividend payments did not deprive the company of the cash needed to fund operations.”

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Made-to-measure menswear brand Indochino has new investor and strategic partner

BY Marianne Wilson

Indochino has a new investor.

The digitally-native brand, which has been expanding in brick-and-mortar, has received a “strategic investment” from Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.). The investment and strategic collaboration will be used to help the retailer accelerate its North American expansion plans and investment in its global operations and supply chain. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Indochino is coming off a successful 2017 during which it grew revenue more than 50% (for a second consecutive year), achieved full year EBITDA profitability and expanded from 10 to 20 showrooms. It plans to open up to 18 locations in 2018.

“Mitsui’s global footprint and its expertise scaling and operating international businesses will be invaluable as we prepare for the next phase of growth and scale as a global apparel brand,” said Indochino CEO Drew Green.

Mitsui is the third global corporation to forge a strategic investment in Indochino in the last several years. Its new shareholders include Dayang Group, the world’s largest suit manufacturer, and Postmedia, Postmedia Indochino Chain store age one of Canada’s largest media companies.

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Urban Outfitters’ Q4 sales up 5.7%

BY Marianne Wilson

The direct-to-consumer channel helped fuel Urban Outfitter in its fourth quarter.

Total company sales rose 5.7% to $1.09 billion in the quarter ended January 31, from $1.03 billion. Same-store sales in the retail segment increased 4%, driven by double-digit growth in the direct-to-consumer channel and stronger apparel sales in January.

By brand, same-store sales rose 8% at Free People. 5% at Anthropologie and 2% Urban Outfitters grew 2%.

For the year ended Jan. 31, total company net sales increased 2% to $3.6 billion. Same-store sales in the retail segment were flat. Wholesale segment net sales increased 9.5%.

Urban Outfitters opened 18 locations in its recently completed year, including eight Free People stores, five Urban Outfitters stores, four Anthropologie Group stores and one restaurant. It ended the year with 245 Urban Outfitters stores in the U.S., Canada, and Europe and websites; 226 Anthropologie Group stores in the U.S., Canada and Europe, catalogs and websites; 132 Free People stores in the U.S. and Canada, catalogs and websites and 10 restaurants.

Urban Outfitters is scheduled to release fourth-quarter earnings on March 6.

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