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    • On July 19, 2024, it was reported, VF Corp unloads Supreme and probably a lot of debt. VF Corp will take quite a hit selling Supreme to Ray-Ban and Sunglass Hut owner EssilorLuxottica for $1.5 billion. The apparel conglomerate shelled out more than $2 billion for the cult brand in 2020. But the sale could go far in improving VF's debt load, including upcoming maturities, S&P Global Ratings analysts said in a research note this week. In fact, VF may have made the move in part to allay analyst skepticism around its ability to pay down two upcoming tranches of debt: a $1 billion term loan due in December as well as about $750 million in notes due next April, according to BMO Capital Markets Managing Director Simeon Siegel. Instead, BMO analysts expect VF to put existing cash plus proceeds from this sale toward those debts, which could drive annualized interest savings of around $80 million and boost earnings. If there's any cash left over, VF could also pay down commercial paper borrowings of about $250 million and buoy earnings further, per BMO. "While headlines will likely portray Supreme's sale to EssilorLuxottica for $1.5B as a loss we believe this a material win for VFC, believing it comes meaningfully above investor expectations and provides a breathe-out relief moment," Siegel said, adding that this allows "management to move past liquidity concerns and focus on improving the business."
    • On July 8, 2024, it was reported, Best Buy Canada recently opened its first small-format store in British Columbia in a partnership with Bell Canada, the companies said in a June 26 announcement. The companies plan to open 167 Best Buy Express-branded stores by the end of this year. Many are expected to open in communities that did not previously have a Best Buy. The express-format stores will offer a curated consumer tech assortment, Geek Squad services and telecom services from Bell, Virgin Plus and Lucky Mobile. The new stores will also offer buy online, pick up in-store services for 100,000 products available through Best Buy's fulfillment network. "Opening 167 stores in five months may be a North American first," Ron Wilson, president of Best Buy Canada, said in a statement. Best Buy first announced the partnership with Bell Canada in January. Best Buy Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Minnesota-based Best Buy and opening the smaller stores is one of the company's priorities for the fiscal year, CEO Corie Barry said during a February earnings call. The Canadian retail stores were previously known as The Source. They were a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell Canada. For the new stores, Barry said in February that Best Buy will provide the consumer electronics assortment, supply chain, marketing and e-commerce services. Bell, which says it is Canada's largest communications company, will be responsible for store operating and labor costs under the partnership, and it will also be the exclusive provider of telecom services. "This collaboration will allow us to expand our presence in malls and in smaller and mid-size communities across Canada," Barry said according to an earnings call transcript.
    • On July 2, 2024, it was reported, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Tuesday that it will file a lawsuit to block the proposed $4 billion merger between mattress manufacturer Tempur Sealy and retailer Mattress Firm that was announced more than a year ago. The proposed deal would see Tempur Sealy acquire Mattress Firm and its more than 2,300 stores in a cash-and-stock deal that was first announced in May 2023. If the deal were to move forward, the company would have about 3,000 stores around the world. The merger was expected to be completed in the second half of 2024. FTC commissioners voted 5-0 to block the deal after voicing concern about the effects on competition with rivals Serta Simmons Bedding and Purple Innovation. The agency alleges that Tempur Sealy's vertical acquisition of Mattress Firm would allow the combined firm to cut off competitors' access to the market, raising mattress prices while lowering product quality and consumer choice. "Through emails, presentations, and other deal documents, Tempur Sealy has made it abundantly clear that its acquisition of Mattress Firm is intended to kneecap competitors and dominate the market," FTC Bureau of Competition Director Henry Liu said in a statement. Mattress Firm says that it will continue to sell non-Tempur Sealy mattresses if the merger proceeds in response to the FTC's concerns. The company added that the bedding industry is "highly competitive" with consumers able to choose from "a diverse selection of products, brands, price points, and purchasing channels." It added that Mattress Firm only operates a "small fraction" of brick-and-mortar retailers and that online sales channels "sell millions of bedding products" every year.
    • On July 2, 2024, it was reported, because Bob's Stores was "unable to secure the finances needed to maintain operations," the chain plans to close all 21 locations and liquidate all inventory. On June 18, Bob's Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports, both owned by GoDigital Media Group, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Neither Eastern Mountain Sports nor GoDigital Media Group immediately returned requests for comment on plans for the EMS banner, which runs about 20 stores. Loyal shoppers at Bob's, a fixture in New England for several decades, can use any gift cards or merchandise credits they have through July 14. Going-out-of-business sales began last week, with discounts of up to 70%, according to a company press release. The retailer will be closing all locations, which are found in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. The assortment includes workwear, footwear, team wear and casual clothing for men, women and children. In a statement, Bob's Stores President Dave Barton expressed gratitude to the company's "vendors, suppliers, customers and employees for all of their support over the years." The company said it made "swift and aggressive changes to the company's structure and operations," but that Bob's Stores was unable to secure the funds it needed to carry on. Together EMS and Bob's generated $131.9 million in net revenue last year, per court filings. Earlier this year their bank declared a default under their loan agreement, took control over their cash and receivables, and would only fund certain expenses. On June 12, after discussions broke down, the bank stopped funding their operations.