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Inside Retail (Apr 19th, 2017)

Crate & Barrel’s CEO made a sudden and unexplained departure from the company the past week. CEO Doug Diemoz joined the retailer in 2015 coming from Restoration Hardware. He and another former Restoration Hardware employee are at the center of a lawsuit filed earlier this year alleging they committed trade secret misappropriations. The company declined to comment to the Chicago Tribune. A board member for the Otto Group, which owns Crate & Barrel, is temporarily taking over CEO duties. – CHICAGO TRIBUNE

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Nutritional supplement supplier GNC Holdings Inc. reported first quarter earnings that blew through Street estimates, sending the stock soaring 24 percent. The vitamin company reported adjusted earnings of 37 cents per share, up from the 34 cents per share analysts were expecting. Revenue was $645 million, well above the $627 million Street view. The company said about 5 million people had signed on for its myGNC Rewards Program. “We’re encouraged by positive trends in transactions, and by the performance of our new loyalty programs,” interim CEO Bob Moran said in a statement. – MARKETWATCH

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Teen apparel retailer Rue21 said it plans to shutter 400 locations in what it called a “difficult but necessary decision.” The store closures represent about 33 percent of Rue21’s portfolio of brick-and-mortars. Amid reports that Pennsylvania-based Rue21 is heading for bankruptcy, the retailer will continue to operate 700 stores as well as its online business. Rue21 is heavily leveraged and suffering from massive declines in mall traffic, which Debtwire associate editor Reshmi Basu calls a “poster child” for mall-based retail. – ASSOCIATED PRESS

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JCPenney said it will delay closing stores after it saw an upturn in sales, although it has not abandoned its plans. Last month, the department store chain said it would close up to 138 stores amid dwindling foot traffic starting this month. Now the retailer is saying it will not begin until May 22. The closures will reduce JCPenney’s portfolio by about 14 percent, although those stores account for only 5 percent of the company’s total annual revenue. – CNBC

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Cosmetics company Bobbi Brown has partnered with Lord & Taylor for a new lifestyle retail concept shop. Called justBOBBI, the first shop was unveiled this week at Lord & Taylor’s New York City location, its flagship store. Businesswoman Bobbi Brown said the shop holds “a few of my favorite things” for health, wellness and style. “It was a great experience for me to be able to curate not just the face, but the whole life, the whole lifestyle,” Brown said. The shop will be refreshed monthly. – AOL LIFESTYLE

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Synovus Financial has officially agreed to buy Cabela’s banking assets, clearing the way for Bass Pro Shops to buy Cabela’s. Capital One Finance had originally agreed to buy Cabela’s retail bank, called The World’s Foremost Bank, but that deal stalled on regulatory concerns. Under the new deal, Synovus will buy the assets at a $70 million discount and resell them to Capital One for a 5 percent premium, effectively making $75 million. However Synovus' gain comes at the expense of Cabela’s shareholders, who now get less from the sale of the company. – MARKETWATCH

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