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Eye on Retail: Walmart alters name

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is ending a 48-year habit by removing word "stores" from of its legal name.

The discounter on Wednesday announced that it is changing its legal name from Wal-Mart Stores to Walmart Inc., effective Feb. 1, 2018. The move reflects the chain's growing emphasis on e-commerce and its positioning as a retailer with integrated online and offline operations.

"Our customers know us as Walmart and today they shop with us not only in our stores but online and with our app as well,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO. “While our legal name is used in a limited number of places, we felt it was best to have a name that was consistent with the idea that you can shop us however you like as a customer."

In a blog post on the company's website, McMillon said the change not only reflects the company's strategy to win the future of retail, but is also a bit about returning to the company’s roots.

"You might be surprised to learn that when Sam Walton opened the first store in 1962, the name on the front of the building was simply, 'Walmart,'" McMillon wrote. "A few years later, we incorporated as Wal-Mart Inc. and amended the name to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. when we went public in 1970."

Walmart operates under nearly 60 different banners around the world — including e-commerce sites — and has more than 11,600 stores and clubs in 28 countries. It will continue to trade on the NYSE as WMT.

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Houzz Stat: The Cost of Hurricane Damage

BY Erin Carlyle, Houzz

The greatest tragedy exacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which hammered the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean in August and September, was the number of people who lost their lives — at latest count at 77 due to Harvey, 132 stemming from Irma and 48 so far in Puerto Rico related to Maria.

And in the aftermath, survivors have been hit with a financial wallop. As part of its latest Houzz Renovation Barometer report, Houzz asked a panel of renovation industry firms about the financial effect of these disasters.

The Houzz Renovation Barometer survey was fielded September 28 to October 12, 2017, and responses were received from 2,241 professionals. Companies in the Houston area estimated the average cost to homeowners to fix damage from Harvey at $111,000 per household, the survey found. One in 10 companies in the Houston area is estimating the total repair and/or renovation costs due to Harvey to be greater than an average of $200,000 per household.

For Irma, renovation companies on the Southwestern Florida costal mainland, where the flooding was less severe, estimated the average cost to homeowners to fix damage at $13,000, the survey found.

The professionals on our panel who provided these numbers have businesses in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, metro area for Harvey; and for Irma the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Naples-Marco Island, and Punta Gorda, Florida, metro areas. Our panel did not include renovation professionals with offices located in Key West, but businesses in other metro areas on the Florida coast may have served the island.

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Central Garden & Pet appoints new independent director

BY HBSDealer Staff

Central Garden & Pet Company, the Walnut Creek, Calif.-based supplier of lawn and garden and pet supplies, has appointed Mike Edwards as a new independent director on the company’s board, effective immediately.

Edwards most recently served as the CEO and president of eBags, which was purchased by Samsonite in August of this year. Previously, he worked as EVP of global merchandising for Staples, where he was responsible for merchandising strategy and new business development, managing the global private label and innovation teams across 26 countries. Prior to that, Mr. Edwards served as president and CEO of Borders.

“We are pleased to welcome Mike to the board at Central," said George Roeth, president and CEO of Central. "Mike’s strong background in merchandising, manufacturing and retailing, both in the bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce areas, is an important asset to our company, as it seeks to grow revenues and profits in the years ahead."

The company also announced that it has commenced an offering, subject to market and other conditions, of $300 million senior notes due 2028. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc., and BMO Capital Markets Corp. will serve as joint book-running managers for the offering. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and Credit Suisse Securities LLC are serving as co-managers.

Last month, Central reported fourth quarter 2017 net sales rose 18.6% to $490.5 million and reported a net income of $4.3 million for the period compared to a net loss of $5.6 million in the fourth quarter a year ago. 

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