News Briefs

  • 2/22/2024

    Walgreens-backed VillageMD primary care clinics to exit Florida


    Walgreens Boots Alliance is closing its remaining VillageMD clinics in Florida.

    The closings, which were first reported by Business Insider, come as the pharmacy and health care services company has been cutting costs. In October, Walgreens said it planned to close approximately 60 VIllageMD clinics, exiting five markets, as part of those efforts. 

    VillageMD had operated 52 clinics in Florida, and 14 have already gone dark. (In late 2021, Walgreens invested $5.2 billion in VillageMD, increasing its ownership stake in the company from 30% to 63%.)

    Business Insider, which cited a report by investment firm Jefferies, noted that cited Florida is VillageMD’s third largest market, behind Texas and Arizona. All of the VillageMD clinics in Florida are co-located in Walgreens stores, according to the report.

    A VillageMD spokesperson Chain Store Age sister publication Drug Store News, “To continue to scale our care delivery services and value-based care model, we assess and evaluate our progress on an ongoing basis and refine our approach as we grow, similar to most growth-oriented companies. Strategically, we are focused on geographic density in markets and locations where we can serve patients to our standards of quality care." 

    The spokesperson continued that in exiting the Florida market,  patients   remain the company’s top priority.

    “We are supporting our patients during this transition including giving them resources of where they can receive care, access their medical records and answer their questions,” the spokesperson said.

  • 2/22/2024

    Pep Boys CEO out; successor named

    Pep Boys

    The activist owner of Pep Boys has named a new CEO.

    Icahn Enterprises L.P., which acquired the auto aftermarket service chain in 2016 in a deal valued at $1.03 billion, has named its current chef executive, David Willetts, as CEO of Pep Boys.  Icahn is the investment arm of billionaire activist investor Carl C. Icahn.

    “David Willetts has done an admirable job in improving the operational performance of our portfolio companies,” stated Carl Icahn. “We believe David's skill set is particularly suited to work on a day-to-day basis to drive the significant value creation potential in Pep Boys."

    At Pep Boys, Willetts replaces Scott Collette, who has served as CEO of the chain since February 2023. Prior to that, Collette spent 32 years at Menards, with his most recent position being COO, from 2007 to 2022. Collette is transitioning to the role of COO at Pep Boys, focusing on driving Greenfield initiatives, acquisitions and evaluation of new service offerings.

    In his statement, Icahn defended the activist approach he takes to investing, which he called “the best investment paradigm that exists." 

    “The reason activism works so well is that, somewhat unfortunately, many public companies are not well run,” he said. "It is very difficult and expensive to remove a poorly-performing CEO and board. And that is why so few investors today employ true activism.”

  • 2/19/2024

    Activist investor group nominates candidates to Macy’s board

    Macy's New York City flagship

    The stage is set for a proxy fight at Macy’s. 

    Macy’s on Tuesday said it has received notice from Arkhouse Management Co. that it has nominated nine candidates for election to the board of the department store retailer at its 2024 annual meeting.  (The date of the meeting has not yet been set.)

    The nominations follow Arkhouse’s and Brigade Capital Management’s unsolicited $21-a-share bid for the company in December. In January, Macy’s rejected the $5.8 billion bid, saying the firms failed to address the board’s concerns regarding their ability to finance the proposed transaction and that there was a “lack of compelling value” in the proposal.

    In its statement on Tuesday, Macy’s said that rather than make any attempt to provide additional information, Arkhouse instead sent a letter its board on February 11, requesting the retailer extend its director nomination window by 10 days and “claiming inaccurately that they had responded to any outstanding issues.”

    “Arkhouse and Brigade have yet to provide any financing details that would enhance the actionability of their proposal despite multiple opportunities to do so, and instead of attempting a constructive dialogue, Arkhouse has chosen to launch a proxy contest,”  Macy’s stated.

    Macy’s reiterated that Arkhouse had “yet to provide any financing details that would enhance the actionability” of its proposal.

    The company added that, “notwithstanding the sole objective of Arkhouse is a sale of Macy’s Inc.," it will evaluate Arkhouse’s director candidates.


  • 2/16/2024

    Guess making first acquisition in its 43-year history


    Guess Inc. is teaming up to acquire a trendy fashion brand.

    The apparel retailer and brand management firm WHP Global have entered into an agreement to buy Rag & Bone. Under terms of the agreement, Guess will buy all of the operating assets of the  jeans brand. Separately, Guess and WHP will jointly acquire and own Rag & Bone's intellectual property.

    Founded in 2002, Rag & Bone directly operates 34 stores in the U.S. and two stores in the U.K. Its merchandise, which includes both men's and women's fashions, is also available in high-end boutiques, department stores and through e-commerce globally. In 2023, the brand generated revenue of approximately $250 million.

    "We are excited to add an iconic brand such as Rag & Bone to Guess?, further diversifying our portfolio with complementary customer bases and price points," said Guess CEO Carlos Alberini. "We look forward to partnering with WHP Global to build on rag & bone’s heritage. We expect the transaction to deliver earnings per share accretion in the first year and strong value creation for our shareholders for years to come.”

    Rag & Bone will continue to be based in New York City. As part of the Guess portfolio, the company's team will operate as an independent fashion brand.

    "Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter as rag & bone joins forces with a much larger international fashion company," said chairman Andrew Rosen. "It’s a great opportunity for our team to take the brand to the next level, blending our unique styles and respective expertise to create new possibilities for rag & bone on a global scale.”

  • 2/15/2024

    True Religion reportedly exploring a sale

    True Religion opened its 46th U.S.-based store -- it's first new store in four years.

    True Religion’s return to growth may be leading it to new owners.

    The denim and apparel brand’s owner, hedge fund Farmstead Capital Management, is considering selling the company, reported CNBC. Farmstead has hired Baird to run the sale process, according to the report. 

    True Religion has had an up-and-down time of it since its heyday in the early 2000s, including filing for bankruptcy twice, in 2017 and 2020. But it’s been on an upward trajectory the past few years under the leadership of CEO Richard Buckley.  In September, the company opened its first new store — and 46th U.S. outpost — in four years, at Atlanta’s Cumberland Mall.  

    The company is also adding new product categories, including the home market through a parternship with Envogue to license True Religion-branded products for the bed, bath, living room, and kitchen. 

    True Religion is also expanding its global reach. In March 2023, the chain announced it was expanding into China with partner Aurorae Group, owner of Evisu Group. Plans call for the opening of 65 stores (a mix of freestanding locations and shop-in-shops) by 2026, growing to a total of 108 by 2028. The Chinese market is expected to represent 10% of True Religion’s global brand volume by 2026.

    In addition, the brand is expanding its international presence in new markets that include India, Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, South Africa, Lebanon and Qatar, bringing its total number of markets outside the United States to 26.

  • 2/14/2024

    Chain Store Age will be closed on Presidents' Day

    Presidents' Day

    The offices of Chain Store Age will be closed Monday, Feb. 19 in observance of Presidents' Day. DayBreaker will resume publication on  Tuesday, Feb. 20.

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