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    • On May 18, 2022, it was reported, top 100 retail group 1915 South is staking its claim to the Jacksonville, Fla., market with a big acquisition. The Thomasville, Ga.-based owner and operator of Ashley HomeStores is acquiring a series of properties from longtime Ashley retailer Howard Fineman and his SFTF brand. The deal, which includes SFTF's four Jacksonville stores including a HomeStore Outlet; its HomeStore in Brunswick, Ga., north of Jacksonville; and the 65,000-square-foot Jacksonville distribution center, closes May 18. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Russell Turner, 1915 South's CEO and fourth generation retail executive, told Furniture Today he had his eyes on Jacksonville for some time and had talks with Fineman, but the timing didn't work out until recently. "We've talked for years off and on. I knew he wanted to sell at one point, but the timing wasn't right for us then. He wants to go do other endeavors, so we talked again," he said. Turner said that often, when one retailer buys another retailer, there's a lot of cleanup to be done, but he noted the Jacksonville operation has been well run. 1915 South's biggest immediate expense will be remodeling of the five stores, which should begin this year and finish up by late next year. He estimated that investment will be about $2 million. Jacksonville is roughly a $50 million market for the HomeStores, and Turner said he believes it can grow to $80 million or more. "We will come in and do the remodeling, and then we'll just open more stores and run more through the machine," he said.
    • On May 11, 2022, it was reported, after a protracted battle for the leadership of Kohl's, shareholders have had their say. During this morning's annual shareholder meeting, investors rejected activist stakeholder Macellum Partner's bid to oust the board. All 13 of Kohl's incumbent board members were re-elected. Macellum Advisors had warned over the past two days that failure to seat at least some of its dissident board nominees might be misinterpreted as a sign the company does not need to consider the more than 25 acquisition bids it has received. Following today's vote, the retailer pushed back on that idea. "The board remains focused on running a robust and intentional review of strategic alternatives while executing our strategy to drive shareholder value," said Peter Boneparth, chairman of the board. Kohl's stock opened at $49.09 today, compared with a 52-week high of $64.80. Bids for the company have reportedly run up to $69.00 per share. Macellum CEO Jonathan Duskin vowed this morning to keep the pressure on Kohl's board members. "I think the vote was a referendum on a sale, and people who voted for the company bought the narrative that any changes of the board in the middle of this process had ran the risk of disrupting the process," Duskin told CNBC. "We're not going away." On May 10, 2022, it was reported, a n activist investor group is making its final pitch in the battle for Kohl's future ahead of the May 11 shareholder meeting. Macellum Advisors has been pushing Kohl's to pursue an acquisition for months and has put forward its own slate of board nominees including former Macy's Inc. exec Jeffrey Kantor. Advisory groups have weighed in on the proposition, one in favor of taking on at least a few Macellum candidates and he tone against. The recommendation against, made by Glass Lewis, argued that adding new board members while the review of bids is already underway could bog down the process. Early this morning, Macellum issued a final appeal to Kohl's shareholders, asserting that a vote for its nominees will not change the outcome of a sale. On the contrary, it warned, reelecting the current board members might prompt "a sudden change of heart" about selling off the company altogether. "Keep in mind that earlier this year, the board abruptly rejected indications of interest from two credible and well-capitalized acquirers before apparently providing sufficient access to management, a robust data room and other information that could have informed upward adjustments to such offers," Macellum stated. The equity firm also pointed to a Morgan Stanley analyst prediction that if board fails to accept an acquisition bid, Kohl's share price could drop into the low to mid $40 range, destroying more than $1.5 billion in value. Offers being entertained for Kohl's have reportedly reached up to $69 per share. "[Y]ou should want Macellum nominees in the boardroom," today's pitch stated. As of post time today, Kohl's had not responded to Macellum's latest salvo. At the end of last week, the retailer highlighted Glass
    • On May 06, 2022, it was reported, Canadian furniture manufacturer DeFehr Furniture will shut down its case goods operations at its facility in Winnipeg, laying off 224 employees. The company says the closure is a result of supply issues and the rising prices of raw materials. "The decision to cease operations was the result of severe supply chain disruptions and raw material sourcing challenges over the past two years, combined with balancing the pace of price increases that were passed along to customers," DeFehr wrote in a note posted to its website this week. "Many of Defehr's raw material inputs are not only purchased by furniture manufacturers, but other home and building product manufacturing companies also compete to secure the same raw material inputs, which exacerbated supply shortages and have resulted in disruptions to production runs." DeFehr says it will complete the orders it currently has, and the plant will officially close Aug. 10. "This wind down will be carried out in a controlled and orderly manner, and all obligations to suppliers and employees will be honored as we work to complete and fulfill customer orders on hand," the company said. Employees will offered support programs to help them find employment elsewhere. One of those programs will be a job fair hosted by the company. DeFehr sells bedroom, entertainment, dining and occasional furniture to more than 200 retailers across North America.
    • On May 03, 2022, it was reported, home furnishings and home recreation products retailer Watson's has acquired Detroit-based outdoor furnishings, pools, spas and home recreation specialty retailer Allstate Home Leisure. Terms of the acquisition, which also includes Allstate's Sol Casual and Carlton Billiards brands, were not disclosed. "We have had our eyes on the Detroit market for quite some time," said Erik Mueller, CEO of Watson's. "The Allstate Home Leisure culture and business model ended up being the right fit and aligned with our long-term growth strategy. We believe in Detroit and are excited to partner with the entire Allstate Home Leisure team to continue to help provide fun and relaxation to the families and homes in Detroit." Allstate Home Leisure will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Watson's, initially integrated as Allstate Home Leisure by Watson's, with a full transition to complete Watson's branding over the next 18 to 24 months.