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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On October 20, 2017, it was reported, for the second time in a month, Sears Holdings turned to CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund, this time tapping it for $40 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing represents an amendment to a revised Oct. 4 loan agreement. In that earlier filing, the company said it recently borrowed $100 million and can borrow an additional $100 million from subsidiaries owned by Lampert's fund, ESL Investments, between now and Dec. 1. Sears has so far borrowed $499.4 million through a real estate-backed loan dating back to January. The new $100 million requires Sears to put up additional properties or other assets as collateral. The latest filing comes in the same month that Sears Canada announced it would seek court approval to liquidate and major Sears investor Bruce Berkowitz, chief investment officer at investment management firm Fairholme Capital Management, and president and director of Fairholme Funds, announced he is stepping down from Sears Holdings' board of directors effective Oct. 31. On October 17, 2017, it was reported, Bruce Berkowitz, chief investment officer at investment management firm Fairholme Capital Management, and president and director of Fairholme Funds, a SEC-registered investment company, is stepping down from Sears Holdings' board of directors effective Oct. 31, Sears said in a press release Monday. Berkowitz joined the board of Sears Holdings in February last year and has been among the few defenders of Sears' turnaround efforts. As the holiday sales season approaches, the embattled retailer once again got an infusion of $100 million from CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund, with the opportunity to borrow an additional $100 million from subsidiaries owned by Lampert's fund, ESL Investments, between now and Dec. 1.
    • On October 20, 2017, Stitch Fix announced that it has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. The number of shares to be offered and their price range have not yet been determined, according to a press release. Stitch Fix intends to list its Class A common stock on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol SFIX, and the offering will be made only by means of a prospectus, the company said. Goldman Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan Securities will act as lead joint book-running managers for the offering, Barclays Capital and RBC Capital Markets will act as book-running managers for the offering and Piper Jaffray & Co., Stifel, Nicolaus & Company and William Blair & Company will act as co-managers for the offering, according to the release.
    • On October 18, 2017, it was reported, struggling to compete in the e-commerce era, Country Curtains is closing up shop. The company announced its liquidation earlier this month and launched going-out-of-business sales online and at its 19 retail locations. Nancy Fitzpatrick, vice chairman of The Fitzpatrick Companies, parent of Country Curtains, said in a statement posted on the company's site that time for an alternative plan had run out. "The challenges of a small company like ours being able to compete in the current online, retail and manufacturing environment have become enormous," she said. "Unfortunately, in spite of the all the things we tried, we haven't been able to turn around our financial losses and we were not able to find the right buyer." The business was founded by her parents Jack and Jane Fitzpatrick 61 years ago. Country Curtains employed 360 people, according to a report from MassLive.com.
    • On October 18, 2017, it was reported, Toys R Us is weighing options for its Asian business, which could include spinning it off in an initial public offering worth as much as $2 billion, Bloomberg reported this week, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. The toy retailer and its partner in a regional joint venture, the Fung brothers, have been speaking with investment banks about possibly listing Toys R Us' Asian unit on the stock exchange in Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg. A spokesperson for the retailer did not immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for comment. The retailer's Asian unit was not included in Toys R Us' Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last month, but Bloomberg reports that the bankruptcy "could make a listing more complicated and harder to market to investors." It could, if successful, also return money to the company's private equity owners, which acquired the retailer in 2005 in a leveraged buyout.