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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On November 17, 2022, it was reported, direct-to-consumer outdoor and patio furniture specialist Starfire Direct has been acquired by Blackford Capital, a lower-middle market private equity firm. Starfire joins Blackford's Patio Consolidation portfolio, which is envisioned to be an asset-light, multi-product, omni channel platform offering products within the home outdoor space. The acquisition is the first part of a multi-phase plan to consolidate several participants in this space and create a business that will deliver "hyper-growth through significant synergies and create a competitive advantage over time." "Jonathan Burlingham and his team have done an impressive job growing the Starfire family of brands since its founding in 2007," said Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford. "With industry-leading products and a loyal and growing customer base, this platform is well positioned for organic and inorganic growth through product development, enhanced sourcing and marketing and synergistic acquisitions, which we are already actively pursuing. "As the remote workforce continues to exceed pre-pandemic levels, we see the home outdoor sector continuing to expand as consumers focus on building and improving comfortable and engaging backyard and home experiences," Stein continued. The Starfire Direct management team, led by founder and CEO Jonathan Burlingham and Chief Operating Officer Wes Chyrchel, will remain with the platform following the acquisition.
    • On November 16, 2022, it was reported, On November 16, 2022, it was reported, Fitch on Friday further downgraded Party City to CCC from B-, citing "rapid deterioration" in Party City's operations and liquidity and calling its capital structure "likely untenable." The agency's rating case assumptions indicate that Party City "will generate significant negative free cash flow" this year with limited liquidity to cushion any further operational missteps, according to the note, which was emailed to Retail Dive. Next year won't get any easier, as cost pressures are likely to persist at least through the first half, Fitch analysts said. With Party City unlikely to improve operations before its 2025 maturities, some type of restructuring has become more probable, per their note. The company last month landed on Retail Dive's bankruptcy watch list. Party City named a new chief operations officer to optimize its supply chain as the retail chain shifts into cost-cutting mode. Peter Smith, formerly executive vice president of global supply chain for children's retailer Carter's, will lead Party City's efforts to increase efficiencies throughout the company's operations, President and CEO Brad Weston said in the company's Q3 earnings call.
    • On November 09, 2022, it was reported, Sycamore Partners has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the 450-store operation that comprises Lowe's Canadian retail division. The deal includes Lowe's Canada, which like its U.S. counterpart sells home furnishings and furniture online; Rona, a home renovation and construction retailer that sells home furnishings and furniture online; Rno-Dpt, a home supply chain that sells decorative home furnishings online; and Dick's Lumber, a building supplies chain. The deal was made for $400 million in cash along with a performance-based deferred consideration. The transaction is expected to close in early 2023, subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals. In connection with the preparation of the company's financial statements for the third quarter of 2022, Lowe's expects to record a pre-tax non-cash impairment charge of approximately $2.0 billion related to its Canadian retail business. "The sale of our Canadian retail business is an important step toward simplifying the Lowe's business model," said Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe's chairman, president and CEO. "While this business represents approximately 7% of our full year 2022 sales outlook, it also represents approximately 60 basis points of dilution on our full year 2022 operating margin outlook," Sycamore Partners was among the companies that prepared bids last spring to acquire Kohl's, which ultimately did not get sold and remains a publicly traded company. The private equity firm acquired the Belk regional department store chain 2015. Among its other retail holdings, it owns Staples, Ann Taylor/Loft, Express and Lane Bryant.
    • On November 07, 2022, it was reported, weeks after inking a financing deal with the owners of the Pier 1 brand, Tuesday Morning has replaced its CEO and chief operating officer, according to a securities filing. Fred Hand, who joined Tuesday Morning roughly a year and a half ago, is out as chief executive and has resigned from the retailer's board. Marc Katz, who joined as COO and interim CFO in 2021, and chief merchant Paul Metcalf have also left the company. Replacing Hand is Andrew Berger, CEO and executive chair of AutoScope Technologies, a maker of transportation-related technology. Bill Baumann, Tuesday Morning's chief information officer, has been appointed as COO as interim chief merchant.