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Sears on brink of bankruptcy

Sears Holdings could file for Chapter 11 as early as Friday.

BY Marianne Wilson

Sears Holdings Corp. is inching closer to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The embattled, 125-year-old department store has hired M-III Partners LLC, a boutique advisory firm, to prepare a bankruptcy filing, the Wall Street Journal reported. The filing could occur as early as this week. The report comes on the heels of Sears adding restructuring expert Alan J. Carr to its board of directors. It also comes as Sears approaches a $134 million debt payment, due on Oct. 15, which the cash-strapped retailer previously warned it may not meet.

In September, ESL Investments, the hedge fund run by Sears chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert, proposed a plan that would essentially translate into a wholesale financial restructuring of the company but without a Chapter 11 filing. It includes selling off many of Sears’ remaining stores and asking lenders to exchange their loans for equity stakes in the retailer. (Some of the stores would be leased back to Sears.) It also includes an offer to buy Sears’ signature Kenmore appliances brand for $400 million. A special committee of the board is currently evaluating the proposal.

“There is a slim chance that Sears may avoid the latest bankruptcy threat, especially if lenders and stakeholders quickly agree to the restructuring program put forward by Eddie Lampert,” commented Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “However, in our view, this is not a long-term solution; it is simply a way to prolong the life of a company that has long since lost the will to live.”

As of its latest quarter, Sears was operating some 900 stores (Sears and Kmart) down from 4,000 plus in 2005.

 

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Environmental StoneWorks expands in Washington

The stone veneer manufacturer has acquired VanWell Masonry.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Environmental StoneWorks, the manufacturer and installer of stone veneer, has acquired VanWell Masonry based in Snohomish, Wash.

VanWell Masonry has provided the Northwest with masonry installation for 25 years. The acquisition expands Environmental StoneWorks installation capabilities while cementing its position as a top stone veneer manufacturer and installer nationwide.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“VanWell Masonry has a well-earned, stellar reputation for covering the Puget Sound region with a broad range of masonry installation and services,” said Charles Stein, president and CEO of Environmental StoneWorks. “Expanding the Environmental StoneWorks footprint into the Northwest solidifies our position as the only national turnkey manufacturer and installer of stone and brick veneer.”

“Our extensive masonry offering, combined with the deep knowledge of our personnel, gives us the expertise to see all customer projects through to a successful completion,” added Mark VanWell, president of VanWell Masonry. “The Environmental StoneWorks ‘one-stop shop’ belief system is a perfect match for us: as part of their national brand, we will continue to expand our services, reach, and customer commitment across the Pacific Northwest.”

VanWell Masonry is a full-service masonry company specializing in commercial masonry for multi-use and multi-family buildings, with much of their work located in Western Washington and Oregon. The combined entity will continue to service the region.

Based in Denver, Colo., Environmental StoneWorks offers a turnkey business model including sales leaders, project managers, and tested safety programs. The company’s product design, manufacturing, installation, and warranty support are housed under one roof, creating a “start to finish” customer-focused structure.

 

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Fastener Week II: Screw-It-Again

A step-by-step guide to a revolutionary wood anchor system.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Screw-It-Again wood anchor offers an innovative solution for a common problem — stripped wood screw holes. The product promises simplicity, ease of use, and an ability to fit a variety of hole sizes.

The pro or DIYer simply snaps off the anchor at the desired length to repair stripped holes in a variety of applications, including the repair of loose hinges, as shown in the video here. The process is a radical improvement upon home-made solutions involving some combination of golf tees, toothpicks or wood glue.

Screw-It-Again is a warehouse item at ACE Hardware, True Value, Do It Best, Bostwick-Braun, Blish-Mize, Horizon, Rafferty, General Hardware, and other distributors.

[Visit here for purchase information.]

The Screw-It-Again system is one of several participants in HBSDealer’s Fastener Week II, running through Oct. 12. The HBSDealer Daily Newsletter will feature a new concept, theme or trend from the fastener industry each day this week.

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