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Sears’ lenders reportedly pushing for liquidation

BY Marianne Wilson

Sears Holdings Corp.’s future is looking grimmer with each passing day.

A group of the cash-strapped chain’s lenders, including Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc., are urging the company to liquidate under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing rather than reorganize under a Chapter 11 filing, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Sears has a $134 million debt payment due on Oct. 15, which the company retailer previously warned it may not meet.

According to reports, Sears CEO and chairman Eddie Lampert, who has helped keep the company float by lending it more than $1 billion over the past several years, does not play to pay the $134 million on Monday.

In comments, analyst Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, suggested that Sears may be past the point of restructuring.

“The latest financials show that group liabilities outweigh assets by some $4.4 billion,” he said. “Not only has this imbalance been present for many years, but it has progressively worsened over time. A restructuring involving further asset sales would do little to fill this hole.”

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Eye on Retail: Target takes on dollar, deep-discount rivals with new launch

BY Marianne Wilson

Target Corp. is entering new territory price-wise with the debut of its newest private brand.

The retailer is introducing Smartly, a line of essentials and personal care products, aimed at budget-conscious shoppers. The new brand includes more than 70 everyday items, from body lotions to paper plates to razor blades, with most items priced less than $2. (The full range is $0.59 to $11.99.) The line will arrive in Target stores and online starting Oct. 14, with new products rolling out through early 2019.

Target has launched more than 20 owned and exclusive brands during the past couple of years. Smartly stands out for its aggressive pricing, with products costing approximately 70% less than similar products from national brands, according to Target. The pricing undercuts rivals and also Target’s previously launched store brands.

“The introduction of Smartly is another example of how we are listening to consumers and bringing them solutions to make their lives easier,” said Mark Tritton, executive VP and chief merchandising officer, Target. “Smartly offers incredible value, looks great and most importantly, gets the job done. It broadens our assortment to give guests even more options to find the product that’s right for them, regardless of their budget.”

Target is positioning the brand not only at price-conscious shoppers, but also at those who live in small spaces without ample storage for the type of bulk merchandise that warehouse clubs sell. Products are available as single items and also offered in small multi-packs.

“Smartly offers the affordability of bulk shopping without buying in bulk,” Tritton noted in a blog post on the company’s website.

Target said its product design and development team “doubled down” on design and key attributes for the brand. For example, liquid hand soaps will be found in fragrances such as Rain Shower and Lavender, and all-purpose cleaners will be available in scents like Ocean and Citrus Grove.

Smartly’s packaging is modern and fun, featuring irreverent expressions such as “smells like well, nothing” on a bar of unscented soap and “no dishes tonight” for disposable plates, and “does the dirty work” on dishwasher powder.

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Tractor Supply Company store exterior
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Tractor Supply gears up for Paper Clover drive

The 4-H fundraiser has provided millions to students.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Tractor Supply Company is continuing its 9-year partnership with the National 4-H Council and gearing up for its Fall Paper Clover event.

The semi-annual fundraising campaign provides millions in funding to scholarships for 4-H youth.

From Oct. 3 to Oct. 14, Tractor Supply customers will be able to make donations at checkout or through online purchase. For in-store checkout, customers can purchase a Paper Clover.

Since its start in 2010, the partnership between Tractor Supply and 4-H has generated more than $14 million in funding. This past spring’s initiative raised more than $956,000, impacting more than 14,000 students, Tractor Supply said.

“Tractor Supply customers and team members have believed in Paper Clover’s mission from the beginning because they see the value 4-H brings to each of their communities,” said Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply Company. “Every Paper Clover donation supports the skills and interests of 4-H youth who are well on their way to becoming tomorrow’s leaders.”

Fundraising efforts from Tractor Supply’s Paper Clover event fund scholarships for numerous state level 4-H programs nationwide, with donations benefitting youth within the state it was collected. Scholarships are used for camps and leaderships conferences, where attendees learn everything from animal care and woodworking to networking practices and civic responsibility.

According to Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of National 4-H Council, these hands-on learning opportunities empower kids to become true leaders in their life, career and community.

“When young people have the opportunity to learn-by-doing, they grow skills that allow them to pursue their passions and contribute to the world around them,” said Sirangelo. “Thanks to our partnership with Tractor Supply Company, its team members and the communities it serves, Paper Clover provides youth with the skills necessary to handle life’s challenges and develop into tomorrow’s leaders—what our communities and nation ultimately need to succeed.”

4-H clubs are encouraged to contact a Tractor Supply store to participate during the in-store fundraiser. Those who participate with their local store are eligible to win a $100 Tractor Supply gift card through the Paper Clover Participation Sweepstakes. Based in Brent

wood, Tenn., Tractor Supply operates 1,725 stores in 49 states along with its e-commerce website.

 

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