WAL-MART RAISES SAFEWAY STAKES: Wal-Mart is said to be planning an all-cash offer of $8 billion for the British supermarket chain Safeway, according to press reports over the weekend. Wal-Mart, which is working with Wasserstein Pirella in New York, is working on a bid that would "blow rivals out of the water," The Observer newspaper reported on Sunday. A Wal-Mart/ASDA spokesman would not confirm or deny the reports about the proposed bid. Last week, the retailing giant issued a statement confirming its plans to make an all-cash bid for Safeway to gain stores in parts of the country where it is under-represented. Meanwhile, Philip Green, who owns the British Home Stores chain and Arcadia group of clothing companies confirmed that he was interested in launching an all-cash bid for Safeway. "We’re interested in what we can do in the non-food division of the store," Green told WWD. Green, whom sources say plans to bid around $5.4 billion, joins Wm Morrison, J. Sainsbury, and the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in the race to buy Safeway’s 480 stores.

GUESS ROYALTY BONDING: Guess Inc., through an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary, on Friday began offering $75 million in bonds, secured by license fees from its accessories, children’s apparel and overseas contracts, due in 2011. The transactions also include "a security interest in all of the trademarks and goodwill transferred" to Guess’ IP Holder LP subsidiary, which will guarantee payments on the bonds. The bond sale, expected to be completed by the end of March, will "partially monetize the expected future royalty payments to be generated by the licensing business Guess has established," the firm said. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including the repayment of debt.

PENNEY SHORT: J.C. Penney Co. said Monday that sales through the third week of January are trending below plan. The news could hamper the Plano, Tex.-based retailer’s expectations of generating "flat to up slightly" monthly comparable-store sales. The best performing categories for the week were children’s, men’s and women’s apparel. The prior week’s sales were on plan. Penney’s monthly sales for its catalogue division are expected to be down 25 percent.

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