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Inside Retail (Jul 10th, 2017)

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) said it will not pursue a buyout and will instead forge ahead with carrying out its own business plan. The announcement sent shares plunging more than 11 percent in pre-market trade Monday. The women’s apparel retailer, which is currently rolling out smaller concept stores, said in May that it had initiated several discussions on its options to sell itself, but has now called off those talks. “The A&F Board of Directors determined that the best path to enhance value for stockholders is the rigorous execution of our business plan," Executive Chairman Arthur Martinez said in a statement. – MARKETWATCH

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Target Corp. (TGT) is launching four new private brands this fall to try to lure shoppers back into its stores. Target is refreshing its brands as consumers increasingly favoring craft brands that make them feel unique. The new brands will be A New Day, Goodfellow & Co., JoyLab and Project 62. They are among 12 new lines to debut at Target over the next 18 months. The retail behemoth is shedding established brands Merona and Mossimo, which executives tell The Wall Street Journal are now too homogenized for consumers. – RETAIL DIVE

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Wholesale club retailers Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) and PriceSmart Inc. (PSMT) are bright spots in a retail climate riddled by store closures and bankruptcies. Costco reported June sales increased 7 percent to $12.2 billion from $11.3 billion the year prior as same-store sales increased six percent. PriceSmart, which has 1 million cardholders, reported third-quarter net sales grew 3.8 percent to $710.7 million from $684.5 million the same quarter in 2016. Still, PriceSmart’s overall results disappointed investors with quarterly earnings of 62 cents per share. Analysts had expected 69 cents per share. – MARKETWATCH

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A significant selloff in L Brands Inc. (LB) shares has caught the attention of analysts increasingly bullish on the stock. The company, parent of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, reported June sales declined 6 percent to $1.2 billion from $1.3 billion as same-store sales fell 9 percent. The stock lost 14 percent in Thursday’s session on the news. RBC analysts Kate Fitzsimons and Brian Tunick said they are “increasingly intrigued” by the retailer’s stock, now down 29.4 percent year to date. Wells Fargo analyst Ike Burochow named L Brands as among the top five the retail stocks he believes are “too cheap” not to buy. – CNBC

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Liberty Interactive QVC Group (QVCA) QVC said it plans to acquire HSN Inc. (HSNI), which will merge two of the largest home-shopping networks in a $2.1 billion all-stock deal. The combined companies will draw an annual revenue of about $14 billion, $7 billion of which from online sales, making it the third-largest U.S. online retailer after Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT). QVC and HSN produce about 55,000 hours of shoppable video content each year, QVC CEO Greg Maffei said. QVC will incur a restructuring charge of about $50 million to $70 million over the next three years. – BLOOMBERG

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Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) plans to close 43 more locations, including eight Sears stores and 35 K-Mart stores by October. The department-store chain’s total closures now top more than 300 so far this year. "We have fought hard for many years to return unprofitable stores to a competitive position and to preserve jobs and, as a result, we had to absorb corresponding losses," said Sears CEO Eddie Lampert said in a statement. The company said it is on track to achieve its goal of saving $1.25 billion annually. Sears shares are down 44.7 percent the past year. – WSJ

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