KMART’S FAST TRACK: Bankrupt Kmart Corp. on Wednesday received Chicago bankruptcy court approval of its $2 billion financing arrangement to use after exiting bankruptcy. The loan will be secured by inventory. The retailer, which filed its reorganization plan on Jan. 24, plans to exit Chapter 11 proceedings by April 30. As reported, the Troy, Mich.-based company received bankruptcy court approval Tuesday to close 316 stores. Going-out-of-business sales at the affected locations are expected to begin today and last 10 to 12 weeks.
BIG LOSSES AT AOL TIME WARNER: AOL Time Warner said Wednesday the company recorded a net loss of $98.7 billion in 2002, after a $45.54 billion asset writedown. It is the largest reported net loss in U.S. corporate history. Additionally, chairman Ted Turner will be stepping down in May. Turner’s resignation is only the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the company, following the departures of chairman Steve Case, chief operating officer Robert Pittman and chief executive officer Gerald Levin. The company made its disclosures after the market had closed. Its stock had closed Wednesday at $13.96, well off its 52-week New York Stock Exchange high of $28.54.
COTTON GINNY CLOSINGS: An Ontario Supreme Court on Wednesday approved a plan to shutter 95 underperforming Cotton Ginny stores as part of its restructuring plan. Larry Gatien, acting president and chief executive officer, said in a statement that there are “several potential buyers” for the remaining 110 Cotton Ginny locations. As reported, the wholly owned subsidiary of Arbos Co. Ltd. was granted bankruptcy court protection on Jan. 15. Cotton Ginny also operates Tabi International stores as a separate division, which is unaffected by its parent’s bankruptcy court filing.
EDDIE BAUER NAMES CFO: Eddie Bauer Inc. has hired S. Ronald Gaston as senior vice president, chief financial officer. He will report directly to chief executive officer Fabian Mansson. Gaston succeeds outgoing cfo Al Chambard, who is retiring after 22 years with the Redmond, Wash.-based retailer. Most recently, Gaston served as executive vice president and chief administration officer for Lane Bryant. Prior to that, he was cfo of Limited Inc.’s apparel group, which consisted of Limited Stores, Limited Express, Lerner, Lane Bryant and Henri Bendel Divisions.