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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On February 22, 2017, it was reported, home improvement retailer Lowe's has laid off more than 500 full-time corporate employees company-wide in its latest effort to streamline the company and boost profitability. The layoffs include 430 workers at Lowe's headquarters in Mooresville, or nearly 11 percent of its workforce there, as well as 70 support staffers in Wilkesboro and about 25 corporate support positions in other facilities across the U.S., the company told the Observer on Tuesday. The layoffs amount to less than 1 percent of Lowe's 285,000 employees company-wide. Those who lost jobs will receive severance and outplacement services, the company said.
    • On February 22, 2017, it was reported, Gander Mountain is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it struggles with debt, Reuters reports. The privately held outdoor retailer, based in St. Paul, MN, since 2012 has opened or announced some 60 new stores, a major expansion stretching to 162 locations in 27 states. Gander Mountain also runs its direct-to-consumer catalog internet business and its Overton's e-commerce retail unit from Greenville, NC. Gander Mountain's debt includes a $30 million loan and revolving lines of credit for $25 million and $500 million, according to Thomson Reuters data. It is not clear how much money in the credit lines the company has yet to draw on. On February 13, 2017, it was reported that Gander Mountain is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it struggles with debt, according to reports. The privately held outdoor retailer, based in St. Paul, MN, since 2012 has opened or announced some 60 new stores, a major expansion stretching to 162 locations in 27 states. Gander Mountain also runs its direct-to-consumer catalog internet business and its Overton's e-commerce retail unit from Greenville, NC. Gander Mountain's debt includes a $30 million loan and revolving lines of credit for $25 million and $500 million. It is not clear how much money in the credit lines the company has yet to draw on.
    • On February 22, 2017, it was reported, Gildan Activewear has completed the acquisition of American Apparel after winning a bankruptcy court auction in January. Gildan's cash bid of $88 million included worldwide intellectual property rights and certain manufacturing equipment. American Apparel's 110 stores are expected to close by April, according to the Los Angeles Times.
    • On February 22, 2017, it was reported, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to approve Walgreens's acquisition of Rite Aid in the next two to four weeks, reported the New York Post, citing two sources close to the situation. The major sticking point was reportedly the number of Rite Aid stores that need to be divested to Fred's Pharmacy. The FTC gave "pushback" regarding the initial plan to divest 865 stores to Fred's, but now that Walgreens and Rite Aid have agreed to divest up to 1,200 stores, as well improved the quality of stores to be divested, the FTC is much more likely to approve the deal. As for the two-to-four-week timeframe, the Post reported Debbie Feinstein, bureau of competition director for the FTC, wants to get the deal approved before she resigns, expected to be "within weeks." Walgreens will pay Rite Aid shareholders between $6.50 and $7 per share once the deal closes, based upon the number of stores that need to be divested. Fred's Pharmacy has pledged to purchase all of the divested stores.