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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On December 10, 2018, it was reported, Top 20 bedding producer Southerland is acquiring the assets of regional bedding producer Tualatin Sleep Products, based in Tualatin, Ore. The deal is expected to close by the first of the year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition will support Southerland's growth in the Northwest, giving it penetration throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, key markets for the company as it continues to fill in the U.S. map for a national footprint, officials said. "The Northwest is a significant growth area for us as we continue to grow our footprint nationally," said Bryan Smith, CEO of Southerland, based in Nashville. "This acquisition will allow us to better service existing customers in the Northwest while enhancing our reach into the region. Tualatin Sleep is a great addition to the Southerland family, and its commitment to quality and service syncs nicely with the way we do business." Southerland and Tualatin are both Englander licensees, which adds to the synergies of the acquisition, officials said. "Our group is thrilled with the acquisition by Southerland," said John Hagglund, president of Tualatin Sleep Products, a family-owned company. "We've been affiliated with the company through our work with Englanderand think highly of its management team, product quality and corporate ethos." Hagglund will remain with the company as regional vice president of sales for the Northwest. Under terms of the agreement, Southerland will lease the 70,000-square-foot Tualatin factory to manufacture and distribute mattresses and foundations, as well as to distribute Southerland's adjustable base lineup in the region. The additional manufacturing square footage pushes Southerland's
    • On December 07, 2018, it was reported, Edward Lampert, the chairman and biggest creditor of Sears Holdings Corp. SHLDQ 3.70% , has made an offer to buy the retailer's stores and other assets out of bankruptcy court in a bid to keep control of the struggling chain. Mr. Lampert's hedge fund ESL Investments Inc. is proposing to buy Sears, its real estate and brands like Kenmore in a deal that wouldn't rely heavily on cash, and would instead use new borrowings, forgive Sears's existing debts and roll over the company's other debts. In a securities filing Thursday, ESL said the deal was valued at $4.6 billion, mostly from $950 million in new loans, the forgiveness of $1.8 billion in debt and $1.1 billion of assumed liabilities. The plan would seek to prevent a full liquidation of the roughly 500 remaining stores and keep the embattled retailer operating under Mr. Lampert's leadership. It would need to be approved by creditors and would have to beat out other bids being prepared by liquidators. ESL's offer includes the brand Kenmore appliance brand and Sears Auto Services, among other entities. ESL said it plans to keep about 50,000 of the retailer's employees. The retailer, which filed for bankruptcy in October, received court approval last month to sell at least 400 of its best-performing stores. The company needs to find a top bidder for those stores by Dec. 15. An auction for the stores will be held in mid-January if there are multiple bidders. ESL was expected to make an offer. Mr. Lampert, who stepped down as CEO when Sears filed for bankruptcy, is the chairman of Sears, as well as its largest shareholder and creditor through his hedge fund.
    • On December 06, 2018, it was reported, Shopko operates more than 300 stores in central, western U.S. Efforts by Shopko Stores to find a buyer have stalled and the Midwestern retailer is making preparations for a bankruptcy filing, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The general merchandise chain, owned by Sun Capital Partners Inc., could still reach agreement on an out-of-court restructuring, but that scenario looks increasingly unlikely, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process isn't public. The situation remains fluid, the people said, with no guarantee that a court filing will happen at all, or that it will include a pre-negotiated plan to save the company. Representatives for Shopko, based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Sun Capital, based in Boca Raton, Florida, declined to comment. It would be the second trip to bankruptcy court in as many years for a Sun-owned retailer. Gordmans Stores Inc., the Omaha-based department-store chain, went bankrupt in March 2017 with a plan to liquidate, a casualty of slowing mall traffic and online rivals such as Amazon.com Inc. Shopko runs 363 stores in 24 states under various formats, according to its website. Pharmacist James Ruben opened the first store in 1962, about the same time that Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. went into business, and Shopko went public in 1991. On December 05, 2018, it was reported, a Shopko representative confirmed in an email to Retail Dive that the company is closing 39 stores. "Those stores will begin liquidation on December 7 and will close at the end of February," a spokesperson said. The news comes on the heels of a Debtwire report that stated that the retailer is exploring restructuring. It was unclear at press time if the store closures are directly related. In a related story, Shopko, owned by private equity firm Sun Capital, is working with Kirkland & Ellis as legal counsel and BRG for restructuring assistance. Sun Capital declined to comment to Retail Dive, and Shopko did not immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment. The Wisconsin-based, rural retailer, which runs a website plus 363 stores in 24 states throughout the Central, Western and Pacific Northwest regions, has also hired Houlihan Lokey to explore strategic alternatives, according to the report by Debtwire's Reshmi Basu, which was emailed to Retail Dive. Shopko earlier this year sold some pharmacy customer lists for almost $6 million, sources told Debtwire, as part of an effort to mitigate costs. Privately owned since 2005, the company reported revenue of $652 million for the quarter ended Aug. 4, down from $679 million in the year-ago quarter, sources told Debtwire. The company is also saddled with debt, and Spirit Realty Capital, which now owns much of its real estate, in January provided a $35 million term loan B-1 facility due 2020 with a 12% interest rate sharing collateral with its $784 million asset-backed lending facility, Debtwire said.
    • On December 05, 2018, it was reported, rapidly expanding Bob's Discount Furniture will head to Detroit next year with its first four stores in the market. The 104-store Top 100 company said all four locations, ranging from 33,000 to 47,000 square feet, will open during Memorial Day weekend. This is the third new market Bob's has announced in just over two months and pushes its store opening count to at least 10 through early next year. "It's a great market, and we can efficiently service it from our Chicago-area distribution center," said a Bob's spokesperson, who confirmed the news but asked not to be identified. Three of the four locations are leased former retail spaces including the 37,000-square-foot store coming to Taylor, Mich., on Rancho Boulevard in a former Babies R Us space, and the 47,000-square-foot Novi, Mich., showroom on West Oak Drive in a former Toys R Us. In addition, Bob's will open a 33,000-square-foot store in Shelby, Mich., in a former T.J. Maxx on Haw Road, and in Livonia, Mich., in a newly constructed space on Middlebelt Road. The Bob's spokesperson declined to say if more Detroit area stores would follow in this hotly contested market that is home turf to Top 100 companies Art Van Furniture and Gardner-White. In September, the Manchester, Conn.-based value-oriented retailer announced six stores slated to open next February over Presidents' Day weekend it's first two in greater Las Vegas, a first in Grand Rapids Mich., and fill-in stores in Bridgewater, N.J., North Dartmouth. Mass., and Ontario, Calif. The latter will be Bob's 13th Southern California location since it entered the market early this year. The Detroit and Grand Rapids locations will add to the growing number of stores Bob's services from its