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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On February 16, 2018, it was reported, Sears Holdings anticipates a year-over-year improvement in earnings for the fourth quarter, the company said in a regulatory filing. Management projects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (or EBITDA) to fall somewhere between a $10 million loss and positive $10 million, as compared to a $61 million loss in the prior year's Q4. Along with cost cuts, Sears got help from a tax benefit of up to $495 million in Q4, a result of the recent tax bill. That could lift net income to between $140 million to $240 million, compared to a net loss of $607 million in the year-ago period, the company said. Stockholders liked the news, with Sears stock trading up nearly 25% at its peak on Thursday. But even as Sears improved the bottom line in Q4, its sales performance was terrible. Comparable store sales declined by 15.6%, with Kmart comps falling 12.2% and Sears' domestic store comps falling a frightful 18.1%. At $4.4 billion, Sears' top-line sales fell by about 33%, a figure that captures both store closures and continued hemorrhaging in Sears' sales base. In the same filing, the retailer said it had begun an exchange for two groups of bonds due in 2018 and 2019. Sears said in January it would offer shares of company stock in exchange for specified debt amounts.
    • On February 13, 2018, it was reported, Walgreens is in talks to buy drug distributor AmerisourceBergen, according to the Wall Street Journal. Walgreens already owns 26% of the distributor and has a representative on Amerisource's board. Amerisource is one of the largest drug distributors in the U.S., with a market value of $19.6 billion, and Walgreens is the largest drugstore chain in the world, with 13,000 stores in 11 countries. Sources told WSJ that talks between Walgreens and Amerisource are still in the early stages, and there's no indication the acquisition would happen imminently.
    • On February 12, 2018, it was reported, Barneys New York is closing a store on Broadway between 75th and 76th Streets on the Upper West Side of New York City, a store manager confirmed to neighborhood real estate blog West Side Rag. The store, one of three in the city and smaller than the other two, will close Feb. 18, according to the report. Corporate headquarters did not respond to a request for comment from the West Side Rag. The company, which is under private ownership and has changed hands several times at the start of the century, renovated the closing location in 2013. A new location opened two years ago in the city's Chelsea neighborhood, according to Fortune.
    • On February 08, 2018, it was reported, J&J Furniture is closing its four stores after 51 years in business, as its co-owner has decided to retire. The retailer, which employs 70 people at its stores in Tillmans Corner, Saraland, Springhill and Daphne, Ala., has hired Lynch Sales to run a "Great $6 million Retirement Closing Sale." Founded in 1967 by the Jones family and now led by Bob, Liz and Ed Jones, the mid-priced J&J grew to its four stores with more than 125,000 square feet of combined space and a 100,000-square-foot distribution center. Key suppliers include Ashley, Best, Craftmaster, Klaussner, Hooker, Parker House, Southern Motion, Standard, Uttermost, and Vaughan-Bassett, as well as Englander and Klaussner's Enso in bedding. "It's been a great experience servicing the people of the Gulf Coast for decades," Ed Jones, vice president and general manager, said in a release. "We will miss fulfilling the home furnishings needs of our many loyal customers, but it's time to retire and spend more time with family." Lynch Sales President Chris Lynch, said the closing sale is expected to run four to six weeks.