PRICE WARS: With Bradlees and Kmart taking a more promotional stance in the Northeast, Caldor Corp. “will likely catch the brunt of the pricing pressures,” said, Thomas A. Filandro, an analyst at Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co., in a recent report.
Bradlees, which last month filed for bankruptcy protection, has begun offering shoppers 50 percent off its entire inventory for one day every month, Filandro said. Additionally, Kmart’s aggressive advertising, with “compelling discounts” on certain basics, will hamper Caldor’s sales and margins over the next several months.
In response, Caldor is testing “Bounce Back” coupons, a discount based on the value of the current shopping trip that can be used on future visits to the store.
Caldor’s same-store sales fell 6 percent in June and soft lines fared worse than other categories, the analyst said.
CEO SEARCH: B. Chris Schwartz has resigned as chief executive officer of General Textiles, which operates Family Bargain Centers, a 101-unit off-price chain.
Schwartz, who also resigned as a director of parent company Family Bargain Corp., could not be reached for comment. The company said he left “to pursue other opportunities.”
William Mowbray, executive vice president and chief financial officer of General Textiles, has assumed Schwartz’s responsibilities during the search for a new ceo. John A. Selzer, president and ceo of Family Bargain and chairman of General Textiles, said the off-pricer “over the past two months has performed well in an otherwise tough retailing environment.” As reported, Family Bargain’s loss in the first quarter ended April 29 widened to $3.6 million from $956,000.
STAMP OF APPROVAL: A bankruptcy court in San Antonio, Tex., has confirmed the Chapter 11 reorganization plan of Solo Serve Corp., a 29-unit off-price chain.
Unsecured creditors will receive a payout of 72 1/2 cents on the dollar, half when the plan becomes effective, which is expected on July 18, and half before Dec. 20. The plan is funded largely by a $2.5 million cash infusion by General Atlantic Corp., Solo Serve’s principal stockholder.
The retailer said comparable-store sales in June fell 3.3 percent from last year to $10.4 million, in line with expectations.
HEAD START ON DEREGULATION: Anticipating deregulation of the electric utility industry, the International Mass Retail Association has scheduled a conference for retailers to learn about cutting electricity costs. The two-day seminar, called “Cutting Power Prices Through Competitive Sourcing,” begins July 19 at Loews L’Enfant Plaza in Washington.
“The impending electric utility deregulation will rapidly change the way retailers purchase electric services, giving a major competitive advantage to those first capable of benefiting from the opportunities deregulation creates,” Robert Verdisco, IMRA’s president, said.