Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) email@example.com www.marcusandmillichap.com Top Retail News BP to Sell U.S. Convenience Stores (Nov. 15) BP Plc. said on Thursday it would sell all 700 of its U.S. owned-and-operated convenience stores to franchise owners, eliminating nearly 10,000 employees. The planned sale, which will take about two years to complete, states that potential buyers will sign 20-year franchise agreements requiring them to sell BP or ARCO branded fuels. The move is a continuation of BP's announcement in October to simplify its operations, a BP spokesman said. The sale will affect the jobs of 9,500 convenience store workers, 350 business-support staff and approximately 100 people within its pipelines and logistics operations. Large distributors will also buy some of the retail outlets, the company said. Tesco Opens in Vegas (Nov. 15) Tesco followed up its U.S. debut last week with a second round of openings on Thursday in Las Vegas. Tesco opened five Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets in the Las Vegas area, adding to the six it rolled out in Southern California on Nov. 8. Currently, Tesco is preparing for its debut in the Phoenix market, when it opens four stores on Dec. 5. The chain also plans to enter San Diego in late November or early December. Tesco chief marketing officer Simon Uwins said the retailer hopes to have 50 Fresh & Easy stores open in California, Nevada and Arizona by February 2008. Private-Equity Firm to Acquire Agent Provocateur (Nov. 15) 3i Group Plc, a publicly traded private-equity firm in Europe, agreed to buy British lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur. The deal values Agent Provocateur at about $122.8 million, according to a Bloomberg report. Agent Provocateur's products are sold in 14 countries, including the United States, the U.K., Hong Kong and Russia. Gap Takes Steps to Stem Child Labor (Nov. 15) Gap Inc. is pulling 50% of its orders placed with a vendor whose subcontracting led to children sewing some of the retailer's clothes in squalid conditions in India, according to the Associated Press. The penalties disclosed Wednesday wrapped up the company's investigation into an episode that attracted headlines around the world and renewed concerns about abusive labor practices in overseas factories. To help address the problem, Gap said it would make a $200,000 grant aimed at improving the working conditions in India and would try to recruit retailers from around the world to participate in a forum next year to address child-labor issues. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) firstname.lastname@example.org www.marcusandmillichap.com Gap said it would also partner with the Global March Against Child Labour and other organizations to provide independent monitoring of hand embroidery and beadwork that is typically done in informal settings, not factories. Grants would help establish community centers in India where such work could be performed under better-monitored conditions. J.C. Penney 3Q Profit Down (Nov. 15) J.C. Penney Co. said Thursday its third-quarter profit fell 9%, hurt by weak sales in September and October, and the department store operator slashed its fourth-quarter outlook. Earnings for the quarter ended Nov. 3 fell to $261 million from $287 million during the same period last year. Revenue fell 1% to $4.73 billion from $4.78 billion last year. Meanwhile, same-store sales fell 3.5%. The company said sales were good in early fall, but weakened "dramatically" in September and October, hurt by a difficult retail environment for consumers and unseasonable weather. Dollar Tree Direct Offers Bulk-Buying Service (Nov. 15) Dollar Tree has launched an e-commerce site called "Dollar Tree Direct" (www.dollartreedirect.com) designed for customers who want to purchase large quantities of items from the store. Customers can submit orders via electronic submission, fax or by phone. No matter what method they choose, shoppers will have the chance to speak with a customer-service representative who will check on availability of requested items and process payments. Meijer Announces 'Black Friday' Deals Earlier (Nov. 14) Rolling out its holiday ads early, Meijer released its "Black Friday" sale prices Tuesday—more than a week before the Thanksgiving holiday. Meijer, which is open on Thanksgiving, has unveiled three separate holiday ads sporting holiday savings. Meijer ads for Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend are now available in all 181 Meijer stores, as well as on the retailer's redesigned Web site, www.meijer.com. Caribou Coffee Replaces CEO (Nov. 14) Caribou Coffee Co. is replacing chairman and CEO Michael J. Coles, according to the Associated Press. A regulatory filing said that in six months Coles would get $1.35 million in exchange for agreeing not to sue for "termination without good cause." Coles will stay with the company as a director, the report said. Caribou named Rosalyn T. Mallet as interim CEO. She previously served as company president. Coles was hired as interim CEO at Caribou in January 2003 and got the job permanently a few months later. He became chairman in 2005. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) email@example.com www.marcusandmillichap.com Coles said Tuesday that he had only planned to stay at Caribou between three to five years. Wal-Mart to Open 3,000th International Store (Nov. 14) Wal-Mart said it will open its 3,000th international store, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Sao Paulo supercenter is scheduled to open on Nov. 22. The company said it will employ about 300 associates from the local area and incorporate many sustainability features in its design. The store facade will feature a “green wall,” covered in climbing plants. In addition, two sewage treatment stations were built at the store site for water reutilization in the store‟s toilets and for garden irrigation. “The opening of Wal-Mart‟s 3,000th international store marks a significant milestone for our business outside the U.S.,” said Mitch Slape, senior VP of international business development for Wal-Mart Stores. “In just 16 years, Wal- Mart has gone from just one international retail location to 3,000, with nearly 600,000 associates serving 49 million international customers each week. In the last seven years, we've had a compound annual growth rate of 27.4%. These are tremendous achievements by any standard.” Macy's Swings to 3Q Profit (Nov. 14) Macy's Inc. said Wednesday it swung to a profit of $33 million in the third quarter in contrast to a loss of $3 million last year. Revenue was flat at $5.91 billion, as previously reported. Meanwhile, same-store sales dropped 0.8%. Virgin Megastores Launches New Site for Holidays (Nov. 14) Virgin Megastores is launching a new site to prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season. “We‟ve spent the last several months developing a site that is unique, easy to navigate and is really loved by our customers. If people decide to shop in our Megastores or from home on Black Friday we are prepared either way,” said Dee Mc Laughlin, VP of marketing, Virgin Entertainment Group, North America. Virginmega.com offers a deep catalog of products and services to complement its in-store offers at the Megastores. One major feature of the site is the MegaBoutiques page, where products are grouped by theme. La-Z-Boy Posts Quarterly Loss, Cites Weak Demand (Nov. 14) La-Z-Boy Inc reported a quarterly loss on Tuesday and the company said it would not meet its fiscal 2008 outlook, hurt by a depressed housing market and disappointing sales. The company cited continued weak overall demand for furniture and said it was delaying plans for new stores in southeastern Florida due to the depressed housing market there. A net loss in the fiscal second quarter came to $9.9 million on charges related to write-downs, restructuring and discontinued operations, compared with a year-ago profit of $1.95 million. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) firstname.lastname@example.org www.marcusandmillichap.com Bombay Embarks on Disposition Program After Bankruptcy (Nov. 14) The Bombay Co., Inc. has selected DJM Realty, a provider of strategic real estate solutions, to exclusively manage the national disposition of all 335 retail store leases and five distribution center leases in the United States. “We are excited to offer these prime real estate properties ranging from 1,800 to 11,000 sq. ft.," said Andy Graiser, co-president of DJM Realty. Bombay is liquidating its inventory through the stores during the holiday season. The engagement of DJM Realty, which is subject to bankruptcy court approval expected next week, anticipates an auction on these properties in mid- December 2007. FAO Schwarz Acquires Children’s Apparel Brand (Nov. 13) FAO Schwarz announced Tuesday that it is buying Best & Co., a 128-year-old children‟s luxury clothing brand, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition marks a major step for FAO Schwarz, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2003 under new owner D.E. Shaw Group. “FAO Schwarz plans to expand the Best & Co. brand through selective wholesale and international distribution,” said Ed Schmults, CEO of FAO, in a statement. During its bankruptcy, FAO Schwartz shuttered its entire retail chain. D.E. Shaw reopened just two locations in 2004, including the renovated flagship at Fifth Avenue and East 59th Street in Manhattan. FAO also operates a Web store and catalogue business. Best & Co. was founded by Albert Best in 1879, and is experiencing a resurrection directed by designer Susie Hilfiger, the ex-wife of Tommy Hilfiger. At one time, the company operated a chain of stores along the East Coast, including a Fifth Avenue flagship, but it closed in 1971. A quarter-century later, Ms. Hilfiger revived the Best & Co. name by purchasing an existing children‟s boutique in Greenwich, Conn., and renaming it Best & Co. She will stay on with FAO as creative director of the apparel brand. Today, Best & Co. operates the Greenwich store, a small shop in Manhattan‟s Bergdorf Goodman department store, an online store and a catalog business. FAO plans to sell its private label toys in all of Best & Co.‟s channels, except for the Bergdorf Goodman location because of its close proximity to FAO‟s Fifth Avenue store. Home Depot Reports 3Q Results (Nov. 13) The Home Depot on Tuesday reported fiscal 2007 third-quarter consolidated net earnings of $1.1 billion, compared with $1.5 billion in the same period in fiscal 2006. Earnings from continuing operations in the fiscal 2007 third quarter were $1.1 billion, compared to fiscal 2006 third- quarter earnings from continuing operations of $1.3 billion. Sales for the third quarter totaled $19 billion, a 3.5% decrease from the third quarter of fiscal 2006, reflecting negative comparable store sales of 6.2%, offset in part by sales from new stores. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) email@example.com www.marcusandmillichap.com The sale of HD Supply was completed on August 30, and Home Depot reflects the results of HD Supply as a discontinued operation. Earnings from discontinued operations were $20 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2007. "We are facing a tough environment as housing indicators continue to deteriorate. Our financial performance in the third quarter reflects these tough conditions," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO. "But we are making significant improvements in our business and we will continue to invest thoughtfully for the long-term health of the company." Holiday Online Shopping Expected to Rise; Customer Service Top Priority (Nov. 13) Recent research shows that despite an anticipated double-digit increase in online sales this holiday season, consumers can expect a better online shopping experience. According to Richard Feinberg, director of the Center for Customer-Driven Quality and a researcher with the Purdue University‟s Retail Institute, online sales are estimated to be $45 billion to $50 billion this holiday season, which runs from two weeks before Thanksgiving until Christmas. The amount is up from $34 billion in 2006. “Online retailers have suffered in the past few years with ordering problems and have instituted measures to guarantee that consumers will not be frustrated with online ordering,” said Feinberg. More online retailers have instituted new and improved customer-service options: live chat, more opportunities to order online and pick up in-store, customer reviews and product ratings, product videos, order tracking, and same-day delivery. Free shipping is increasingly attractive to consumers. After free shipping, the most common incentive retailers offer is a free gift with a purchase. Purdue research shows that one successful purchase increases the likelihood of additional purchases. The official start of holiday e-shopping is on "Cyber Monday," the week after Thanksgiving. Although there is a spike in Internet spending on Cyber Monday, it may not be the biggest e-shopping day of the year, Feinberg said. He estimates that day to be between the fifth and 10th busiest shopping day for e-retailers. Internet shopping, said Feinberg, increases from Cyber Monday until the week before Christmas and then falls off. Gift Cards Up in Popularity, Says NRF (Nov. 13) According to the fifth annual National Retail Federation (NRF) Gift Card Survey conducted by BIGresearch, as gift cards become increasingly convenient, more personalized and more sought after, retailers can expect to see an increase in gift card sales this holiday season. The research found that gift-card sales will total $26.3 billion this holiday season, compared to $24.8 billion in 2006. Additionally, the average consumer will spend more on gift cards than they did last year ($122.59 vs. $116.51 in 2006). The survey also found that gift cards will be the one of the most popular gifts this holiday season as 56.6% of consumers plan to buy one compared to other top-selling gift items such as clothing, toys and books. And with popularity rising among consumers of all ages, 87.7 % of shoppers said they will purchase two or more gift cards this holiday season. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) firstname.lastname@example.org www.marcusandmillichap.com Survey Shows Huge Fraudster E-Commerce Gains in 2007 (Nov. 13) According to the ninth-annual CyberSource survey of e-commerce fraud, merchants are spending more to contain fraud, and dollar losses from e-commerce fraud are continuing to grow. Fraudsters will divert approximately $3.6 billion from U.S. e-commerce in 2007, a 20% increase over 2006, said the report. The findings also revealed that the percent of revenue merchants say they will lose to fraud remained stable over 2006 and 2007 (1.4% both years), but because e-commerce sales continue to grow, dollar losses to U.S. e-commerce grow proportionately. “E-commerce in the U.S. today is a highly rewarding channel that is showing vigorous growth,” said Doug Schwegman, CyberSource director of customer and market intelligence. “But it‟s also a channel with meaningful challenges posed by systematic fraud. Merchants did see their online sales grow approximately 20%, but the costs of managing fraud grew a nearly identical amount. The picture is one of merchants swimming harder against an accelerating current.” Survey Shows ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ Heavily Impact Holiday Shopping Season (Nov. 13) A just-released study by accounting and consulting firm BDO Seidman, LLP has revealed that the chief marketing officers of leading U.S. retailers estimate sales on “Black Friday” (Nov. 23 this year) will account for 15.1% of their total holiday revenue in 2007. These same marketing executives, the survey revealed, also anticipate that online sales for “Cyber Monday,” the first Monday after Thanksgiving, will account for 12.3% of Internet sales this holiday season. They also project that more than one-fifth (21.3%) of their holiday sales will take place in the final week before Christmas. “This year‟s holiday survey of chief marketing officers demonstrates how „Cyber Monday‟ has become the online equivalent of „Black Friday‟ for America‟s leading retailers,” said Doug Hart, a partner in the retail and consumer product practice at BDO Seidman. “It also indicates that while retailers are dedicating a measurable proportion (14.8%) of their total marketing budget to driving Internet sales this holiday season, a majority of the retailers are not conducting any special promotions as they see the convenience of online buying as a sufficient incentive to purchase through this medium.” These findings are from the most recent edition of The BDO Seidman Retail Compass Survey which examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailers nationwide regarding their expectations of the 2007 holiday shopping season. Wal-Mart 3Q Profit Up 8% (Nov. 13) Wal-Mart Stores posted third-quarter earnings Tuesday of $2.86 billion, an 8% hike that beat Wall Street expectations and suggested that the company‟s refocused price goals appear to be paying off. Wal-Mart generated revenue of $91.95 billion in the period ending Oct. 31, up 8.8% from $84.47 billion a year ago. According to president and CEO Lee Scott, it has been a tough year for consumers, but the company‟s new focus on pricing is paying off. “We believe we are well positioned to win in this environment,” Scott said in a recorded call. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) email@example.com www.marcusandmillichap.com Scott said the company is trending positively in sales of home and apparel, an area in which Wal-Mart unsuccessfully sought to market to higher-income shoppers. The company has switched back to its emphasis on price. “During the Christmas and holiday season, our price leadership position will benefit both our customers and the company. We have set the stage for a successful fourth quarter,” Scott said. Third-quarter sales at stores open at least a year, not counting fuel, were up 1.5% in the company‟s U.S. stores, same as a year ago. The company expects same-store sales for the fourth quarter to rise no more than 2%. TJX 3Q Profit Rises 13% (Nov. 13) TJX Cos. announced Tuesday that its third-quarter profit rose 13%, falling short of analysts‟ expectations as apparel sales were negatively impacted by unseasonably warm early fall weather. However, the company slightly raised its fourth-quarter earnings outlook. Net income for the three-month period ending Oct. 27 increased to $249.5 million, up from a profit of $230.6 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue rose 6% to $4.74 billion from $4.47 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected revenue of $4.79 billion in the latest quarter. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 3%. “While sales were slightly below plan, we believe this was mostly due to unseasonably warm weather through the majority of September and October,” said Caroly Meyrowitz, president and CEO. TJX expects same-store sales growth of 4% for both the fourth quarter and full year. Macy’s to Open New Tampa Store (Nov. 13) Macy‟s, Inc. said Tuesday it will open a new store at The Shops at Wiregrass, a new lifestyle development developed jointly by Forest City Enterprises and The Goodman Co. and located in North Tampa, Fla. This will be Macy‟s eighth store in the Tampa market. At 140,000 sq. ft., the store will on be two levels and will offer a full complement of apparel and accessories for men, women and children, as well as home textiles and housewares. “We are excited to be expanding the number of Macy‟s locations in this important and growing area of the Tampa Bay market,” said Julie Greiner, chairman and CEO of Macy‟s Florida. Construction is expected to start in December 2007, and the store will open in October 2008. Shopko Names President (Nov. 12) Shopko Stores said Monday that W. Paul Jones has been appointed president and chief merchandising officer for the discount department-store chain. Jones will be responsible for the direction of all merchandising and marketing activities, effective Nov. 14. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) firstname.lastname@example.org www.marcusandmillichap.com Jones has more than 20 years of retail leadership across several divisions of May Department Stores, Kohl's Corp. and most recently for the former Sears Roebuck & Co. Borders Installs In-Store TV Network (Nov. 12) Borders is installing 37-inch flat-screen televisions to show original programming, advertisements, news and weather, according to a report in The New York Times. The broadcast service, called Borders TV, has arrived in nearly 60 stores and is scheduled to reach an additional 250 stores by the end of February. Each store is slated to have two screens, the report said. Borders‟ partner in the venture is Ripple, a company that provides information such as news, traffic and weather to televisions installed in public places. The advertisers that have purchased time on Borders TV are all “household names,” according to the report. For example, Ford will showcase its hybrid vehicles. Jones said Borders customers tend to be “highly educated, more affluent” and spend an average of an hour in the store, the report said. “It‟s becoming more and more difficult to reach people,” Jones said. “Newspapers are not as effective as they used to be. Television is not as easily reachable as it used to be. This becomes an attractive option.” State Approves New Lifestyle Community (Nov. 12) The Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA) has approved Westwood Station, a 4.5-million-sq.-ft. master-planned community that includes a mix of retail shops, office buildings, and luxury condominiums in Westwood, Mass. Developer Cabot, Cabot & Forbes (CC&F) and its joint-venture partners, New England Development and Commonfund Realty, Inc., announced that the state has issued a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) Certificate for the project, setting the stage for groundbreaking later this year. The $1.5 billion Westwood Station project includes 1.35 million sq. ft. of retail, 1.5 million sq. ft. of office, 1,000 residential units and two hotels. Lowe's Builds DC in Miss. (Nov. 12) Lowe's Cos. Inc. said Monday that it has begun building a flatbed distribution center in Mississippi to serve four Southeastern states. The 200,000-sq.-ft. facility will initially employ about 35 people and be located in Purvis, Miss. It will serve more than 60 Lowe's stores in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. The project is expected to cost about $15 million and be completed in mid-2008. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) email@example.com www.marcusandmillichap.com Zale Completes Sale of Bailey Banks & Biddle (Nov. 12) Zale Corp. on Monday said it completed the sale of its Bailey Banks & Biddle brand to Finlay Fine Jewelry Corp. for $200 million. The company expects to make $175 million on the sale, first announced in September. In addition, Zale will begin a $200 million stock buyback program. Finlay Enterprises Inc., which owns Finlay Fine Jewelry Corp., financed the acquisition through a $550 million five- year revolving credit facility from GE Corporate Lending, which replaced the company's existing credit facility. GE Capital Markets Inc. is sole bookrunner for the financing. A $25 million post-closing inventory adjustment will also be financed through the revolving credit facility. H.E. Butt, Chase Create New MasterCard Brand (Nov. 12) H.E. Butt Grocery Co. (H-E-B) and Chase Card Services have rolled out a new H-E-B Chase MasterCard and a private-label H-E-B credit card, according to the San Antonio Business Journal. Cardholders can receive $20 gift cards for 2,000 points or $100 gift cards for 10,000 points. Restoration Hardware Agrees to be Sold for $267M (Nov. 9) Restoration Hardware Inc. said Thursday that it has agreed to sell itself to private-equity firm Catterton Partners for $267 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Restoration CEO Gary Friedman is participating in the buyout. In addition, several institutional investors are investing in the transaction or exchanging their common stock for equity in Catterton or an affiliate. Similar to other home-furnishings stores, Restoration Hardware has been struggling in the aftermath of the housing slump, which has caused consumers to rein in spending. Last year, the company earned $3 million on revenue of $713 million; in 2005 it lost $29 million on $582 million in revenue. In August, Restoration said it would cut 100 jobs at its Corte Madera headquarters to save $9 million a year. Previously, it had 3,800 employees—1,700 of them part time. Last year, the company took steps into the broader "value" market segment with its new Brocade Home brand. Brocade Home products, which it sells via catalogs and the Web, have lower prices than Restoration and a design aesthetic aimed at women. In April, Restoration told analysts it would temporarily suspend store expansion while it focuses on increasing direct- to-consumer sales. Friedman said he expects catalogs and the Internet to account for half of the company's sales within three years, up from a third now. Restoration said it would solicit competing bids until Dec. 13. If it accepts another offer, it must pay Catterton a $10.68 million termination fee. That deal is expected to close by April. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) firstname.lastname@example.org www.marcusandmillichap.com Blockbuster to Test Prices, Store Formats (Nov. 9) Blockbuster Inc. said on Thursday it plans to test different models for pricing and store formats, according to a Reuters report. CEO Jim Keyes said Blockbuster would experiment with store layouts to add downloading stations, books or beverages in a bid to shore up its customer base. He expects the new emphasis on stores to turn around falling same-store sales and rental revenues. But he said that change would not come in the fourth quarter, nor would the initiatives be "an overnight success." The company was looking at recapturing some of the revenue it lost when it abolished late fees and allowed some online customers to exchange DVDs for free at its stores, Keyes said. Tightening the number of days that customers can keep films also will help boost in-store inventory and mend Blockbuster's reputation for being out of stock on first- run titles. Blockbuster posted a wider quarterly loss on Nov. 1 as it closed stores around the world. It has since focused on boosting sales at its remaining stores and keeping away from its online battle with Netflix Inc. Blockbuster is looking for promotional partnerships with movie studios and manufacturers for exclusive product tie-ins, such as proprietary toys or beverages linked to DVD releases, Keyes said. To avoid being saddled with excess inventory, Blockbuster plans to negotiate risk-sharing arrangements with the studios and use management systems at its U.S. stores to let local store operators manage product assortment and inventory. Ideas for its retail format include creating an interactive area in stores for children, a destination for downloading entertainment onto portable media devices or a kiosk for Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 video-game console. Another option was to place kiosks in high-traffic areas such as airports or shopping malls, Keyes said. To that end, Blockbuster planned to cut back on advertising for the next six months as it formulates its new plans and evaluates its current marketing strategy, Keyes said. The company also seeks ways to build up digital distribution for films, including merging its Blockbuster.com Internet site for ordering films by mail with its Movielink download service, and partnering with telecom and cable companies, Keyes said. CEO Makes Bid to Take Trans World Private (Nov. 9) Trans World Entertainment Corp. chairman and CEO Robert J. Higgins has offered to buy out existing shareholders to convert the struggling retailer to a private company, according to The Business Review. Higgins has made a non- binding offer to buy out existing shareholders at $5 per share cash. Trans World owns more than 950 retail stores, most under the name F.Y.E. (For Your Entertainment) and others under the Suncoast name. As of 2006 more than 600 people worked at the company's headquarters and distribution center at 38 Corporate Circle. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) email@example.com www.marcusandmillichap.com The news comes as Trans World, which had sales of $1.47 billion last year, prepares to enter the holiday shopping season. The company has seen its sales suffer as it tries to compete with big-box retailers such as Wal-mart and Best Buy who sell music and videos at cheaper prices, and with computer downloads of music, both legal and illegal. According to the company, Higgins has contacted another shareholder, Bryant Riley, to gauge his interest in participating directly or indirectly in the buyout. Shoppers Eyeing ‘Green’ Gifts (Nov. 9) Green products may become this year's hot holiday trend. About 18% shoppers said they plan to purchase an eco- friendly product this holiday season, according to Deloitte's annual survey of holiday moods. San Francisco led the nationwide survey, with 27% saying they planned to purchase earth-friendly products. Seattle was No. 2, with 25%. The survey also found that 27% picked paper over plastic at the grocery store. And 20% said they'd consider doing without wrapping paper this season to conserve paper. Levitz Seeks Bankruptcy Protection Again (Nov. 9) Levitz Furniture filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday in an effort to stay in business despite a lack of cash, according to the Associated Press. The company‟s request for reorganization under court protection is part of a strategic effort to evaluate its options, including a possible sale, the company said. It is the third time Levitz has sought court protection in just over 10 years. The company asked the court for approval to continue meeting obligations such as fulfilling customer orders and paying its staff, and that it be allowed to pay for goods and services further down the road. “We are hopeful this filing will enable the business to emerge stronger and better positioned for long-term success,” chairman and CEO Larry Zigerelli said in a statement. Charming Shoppes to Consolidate Catherines Operations (Nov. 9) Charming Shoppes Inc. said Thursday it will consolidate its Memphis-based Catherines Plus Sizes subsidiary into its Bensalem, Pa. headquarters. The measure is part of a larger cost savings plan outlined by Charming Shoppes, whose 2,425 stores trade under the names Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines. Catherines will move its operations by the end of March 2008, which will result in annual savings of $8 million, the company said. About 117 local employees will be affected. Charming Shoppes Inc. spokesman Steve Wishner said employees will have an opportunity to choose between a severance package and a relocation package. All members of senior management have indicated their willingness to relocate, he said. Memphis-area stores will not be affected. Al Taf Group Marcus & Millichap 1100 Abernathy Road, Ste. 600 Atlanta, GA 30328 (678) 808-2776 (Direct) (678) 462-4442 (Cell) (770) 200-1517 ( Fax) firstname.lastname@example.org www.marcusandmillichap.com The move will result in a one-time, pre-tax expense of $4 million related to severance, retention and relocation costs. It will also mean $4.5 million in pre-tax charges related to write-downs of fixed assets in Memphis. Office Depot: Accounting Errors to Reduce Earnings (Nov. 9) Office Depot said on Thursday it will reduce earnings for some prior periods following an independent review of its accounting for certain vendor program funds. The errors, discovered by an audit committee following a whistleblower complaint, are non-cash adjustments to previously reported results. The company intends to file an amended Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for fiscal 2006 and amended Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q/A for the first and second quarters of 2007. More Consumers Expected to Shop on Black Friday (Nov. 9) A recent Maritz Poll found that one-third of respondents (37%) plan to shop on the day after Thanksgiving, up from 34% last year. The survey also showed that respondents with household incomes of $100,000 or more will shop at significantly higher levels (45%) on Black Friday than those in the lowest income group of less than $25,000 (30%). In addition, those who plan to shop on Black Friday said they will spend more overall on their holiday purchase—$790 compared to $637 for all shoppers combined. Black Friday also has generational implications with the majority of Gen Y respondents (59%), as well as a significant portion of Gen X (46%) planning to shop. Only a small percentage of Boomers (23%) and the Silent Generation (21%) will venture out on Black Friday. According to the survey, respondents said they plan to shop the following stores during the holiday season: Wal-Mart (63%), Target (57%), Best Buy (43%), K-Mart (28%), Kohl‟s (27%), Macy‟s (25%), Sears (23%), Circuit City (21%) and Victoria‟s Secret (17%).