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Office Depot in $976 million deal to buy rival OfficeMax
Reuters
Office Depot Inc. will acquire smaller rival OfficeMax Inc. in a $976 million all-stock deal, the companies said, confirming an agreement inadvertently announced earlier, before it was completed. The combined entity's name, headquarters and CEO are all undetermined, an unusual level of major decisions yet to be made that points to the integration challenge the companies face.
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First Apple, then Microsoft: Now Google targets retail
Forbes
When Apple CEO Tim Cook recently appeared at the Goldman Sachs 2013 Technology Conference, the conversation covered was illuminating rather than revealing. Many on Wall Street expected Cook to announce that Apple would either increase its dividend, upsize its share repurchase program, or both. While Apple already pays a hefty annual dividend — $10.60 per share — and has repurchased $1.95 billion in shares, many are expecting more to come.
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Analysts: Google retail stores could be a smart move
DG News Service via Network World
Opening its own brick-and-mortar retail stores could help Google sell more of its Chromebooks, Nexus tablets and other hardware, analysts said, reacting to online reports that Google may soon be coming to the local shopping mall. Google is in the process of building its own retail stores and hopes to have the first stores open in time for the holidays in major U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a report in 9to5Google, which cited an unnamed, "extremely reliable" source.
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JC Penney adds fresh fashion this spring with launch of Joe Fresh shops and new designer attractions
Reuters (press release)
JC Penney has teamed up with some of the world's leading designers and brands to bring their styles to more Americans at an affordable price. In addition to the highly anticipated debut of Joe Fresh in nearly 700 stores, Pearl by Georgina Chapman of Marchesa, L'Amour Nanette Lepore, William Rast, LULU by Lulu Guinness and Duro Olowu for JCP will join a growing portfolio of leading brands in stores across the country and jcp.com this spring. The new fashion lineup at JCP will be showcased in the spring marketing campaign that will launch during the Academy Awards on Feb. 24 as part of the company's 12th consecutive year as the exclusive retail sponsor.
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Simons cited for innovative design at West Edmonton Mall store in Canada
Edmonton Journal
Canadian retailer Simons has won global industry recognition for the design of its West Edmonton Mall store that features innovations like remote-controlled, descending change rooms. Chain Store Age, a New York-based publication aimed at retail executives, awarded Simons with Retail Store of the Year award in its 31st annual design competition. Simons also won for best department store and best fitting rooms.
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Related article:
Retail Store of the Year: And the winners are … (Chain Store Age)


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Crunched consumers are cutting back
CNN Money
Smarting from smaller paychecks, consumers are tightening their budgets and looking for other ways to save money, according to a recent survey. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they were cutting back to cope with tax changes this year — including dining out less, limiting travel plans and skipping everyday indulgences, according to the National Retail Federation, which sponsored the survey.
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Security surrounding social media and m-commerce top IT priorities
Chain Store Age
Managing and classifying enterprise data is the number one security and privacy area in need of improvement, and remains a major challenge for IT departments, according to a survey about IT risk factors for 2013 published by global consulting firm Protiviti. The 2013 IT Priorities Survey found that IT executives are struggling to manage the wide variety of technology risk, regulatory compliance and performance challenges that now face them.
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Sport Clips Haircuts announces expansion into Canada
PRNewswire
Sport Clips Haircuts, the nation's leading men's and boys' hair care franchise, announced its expansion into Canada. With more than 930 locations in the United States, Sport Clips plans to expand rapidly in the Canadian markets of Ontario (Toronto area), British Columbia (Vancouver, Lower Mainland), and Alberta (Calgary, Edmonton).
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H&M will shortly apply to set up own stores in India
The Wall Street Journal
Swedish clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB will shortly apply to the Indian government for permission to set up own stores in the country, its chief executive officer said. Stockholm-based H&M is the world's second-biggest clothing retailer by sales behind Zara owner Inditex SA.
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Walmart plans getting reworked by developers
The Washington Post
After months of delays, Walmart has three stores under construction in Washington, D.C., and developers are re-working plans for a fourth and fifth store. Of the three stores under construction, two are part of mixed-use projects the likes of which the retailer shied away from until a few years ago. Two are scheduled to open later this year.
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Repair or replace? Best strategies to reduce maintenance costs
FacilitiesNet
In the world of facilities maintenance, we ask questions about equipment and maintenance almost daily: Should we repair the equipment? Can we overhaul it? Can we just replace the unit altogether? How about deferring the work until next month? What factors determine the right path? The consequence of failure, the costs, and return on investment (ROI) are some of the key aspects managers need to consider in making the right decision.
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How to test a consolidated program
By Kevin Smith
As the economy continues to reshape itself, all of us are finding the need to accomplish more with fewer resources. But you are often faced with the same concern: What if that single-sourced solution you choose doesn’t work? What will the impact be on a portfolio of hundreds or thousands of locations? Certainly, many of us have heard about similar award decisions that turned out to not deliver as expected, costing people jobs and sometimes companies their financial standing. So what are your options?
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Outlet mall popularity surprises forecaster
The Columbus Dispatch
In almost a decade of forecasting trends, local retail observer Chris Boring usually has been able to guess the top trends of the year, months ahead of time. But even he was surprised when he realized what had to be this year’s No. 1 trend: "Outlet Mall Mania."
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Best Buy swears shoppers don't have to bother showrooming anymore
TIME
With the launch of a new price-matching guarantee, electronics giant Best Buy promises "the end of showrooming" — the increasingly popular practice in which shoppers scope out merchandise in a store and then buy it for less money online.
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Canada in Target's bull's-eye
Star Tribune
Target Corp. has yet to open a store in Canada, but the retailer can already count Laurel MacLeod as a loyal customer. At least once a year, the 28-year-old editorial consultant will drive two hours from her home in Toronto just to shop at a Target store in Buffalo, N.Y. And when she can't make the trip, she asks her mother in Illinois to scoop up merchandise.
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As temperatures plummet, tips to protect fire sprinkler systems from freezing
Today's Facility Manager
As winter continues to batter the country, the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) reminds building owners that fire sprinkler systems are the only proactive form of fire protection, mitigating the risk to individuals affected by fire, including both occupants of the building and responding firefighters. Proper maintenance is required to ensure that this life saving system performs when a fire strikes. With temperatures plummeting, it is critical to protect fire sprinkler system piping from freezing.
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Want vs. Need
STORES
Job growth seems to be moving in the right direction, the housing market appears to have turned a corner and equity prices are holding up — all good news for consumers still smarting from the 2007-09 recession. Still, the loss of the payroll tax cut, fluctuating gas prices and the uncertainty that surrounds the debt ceiling continue to give shoppers pause.
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Walmart bests forecasts amid soft sales
Drug Store News
Walmart saw a diminutive 1 percent increase in same store sales at U.S. stores, but beat analyst estimates and delivered better-than-expected fourth-quarter profits, the company announced. Walmart said total sales increased 3.9 percent to $127.1 billion compared to $122.3 billion last year. Without the benefit of a favorable currency exchange situation, sales would have increased a lesser 3.7 percent to $126.8 billion.
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Claire's expects to end year on high sales note
Retailing Today
Fashion jewelry retailer Claire's Stores said that it expects to report a 13.4 percent spike in net sales to $493 million for the fourth quarter over the same period last year, thanks in part to an additional week of net sales and a comparable-store sales increase of 5.4 percent. For the full year, Claire's expects to report net sales of $1.6 billion for fiscal 2012, an increase of 4.1 percent, compared with fiscal 2011.
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Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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