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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On March 21, 2019, it was reported, Levi Strauss began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the name LEVI, pricing 36,666,667 shares of its Class A common stock at $17 apiece, just higher than its target between $14 and $16, according to a company press release. That will raise $623.3 million for the denim brand, giving it a valuation of $6.55 billion.
    • On March 20, 2019, it was reported, DSW has changed its corporate name to Designer Brands Inc. "which supports its vision for the future and reflects its expertise in building brands and delivering differentiated experiences," according to a company press release. The company also revealed a three-year strategic plan to build exclusive brands through Camuto Group's design and sourcing capabilities; expand services, including nail bars and repairs; enhance the VIP loyalty program; and launch a new loyalty program for The Shoe Company.
    • On March 19, 2019, it was reported, Shopko is going out of business. The retailer announced that despite looking, it hadn't found a buyer and will begin winding down its retail operations this week. It also is exploring options for its optical business. The company filed for bankruptcy in January, at which time it also put its pharmacy business up for auction. After initially closing 38 stores upon filing for Chapter 11 protection, in mid-February Shopko announced the closure of 251 additional stores. "This is not the outcome that we had hoped for when we started our restructuring efforts," said Russ Steinhorst, Shopko CEO. "We want to thank all of our teammates for their hard work and dedication during their time at Shopko." Gordon Brothers will oversee the liquidation process, which Shopko expects to be completed in 10-12 weeks. The Green Bay, Wis.-based retailer was founded in 1962, and in January was operating more than 360 stores in 26 states, including small-format Shopko Hometown stores that made up more than half of its store count and four standalone optical locations.
    • On March 18, 2019, Dollar General Corp. reported that fourth quarter net sales rose 8.5% to $6.6 billion, up from $6.1 billion in the year-ago quarter, with "positive sales contributions from new stores and growth in same-store sales, modestly offset by the impact of store closures." Same-store sales rose 4% year over year, driven by increases in average transaction amount and customer traffic, thanks at least in part to the early release of federal food assistance dollars, according to a company press release. The comp growth included growth in consumables, seasonal and home, partially offset by declines in apparel. Net income in the quarter fell to $483 million from $712 million a year ago as gross profit, as a percentage of net sales, contracted to 31.2% from 32.1% the year before. The gross profit rate decline was attributable mostly to higher markdowns and more sales coming from lower-margin consumables sales, among other factors, the company said. Later, in a conference call with analysts, CEO Todd Vasos said the company this year plans 975 new store openings, 1,000 remodels of "mature stores" and 100 relocations. Ten of the new stores will be smaller concepts aimed at serving younger customers, half the size of traditional locations, that the company has refined for two years, he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. Also, the retailer announced that Chief People Officer Bob Ravener is retiring as planned, and will step down May 27.