Major Mergers Ahead
A few major retailers announced their involvement in upcoming acquisitions. Shoe manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide Inc. and equity firms Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital agreed to acquire Collective Brands Inc., operator of Payless Shoe Source. This transaction will split Payless and the company’s brand development and licensing arm into a separate company. Also, Ascena Retail Group, which owns the Dressbarn, Maurices and Justice chains, said it will acquire Charming Shoppes Inc.
Upon completion of the deal, Charming Shoppes, which is based in Bensalem, PA, will become a subsidiary of Ascena Retail Group. The acquisition of Charming Shoppes gives Ascena entry into the steadily-growing plus-size women’s clothing market. Charming Shoppes Inc., which was founded in 1940, owns Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines Plus Sizes banners, for a total of more than 1,850 stores nationwide. Appearing in Chain Store Guide’s database of ApparelSpecialty Stores, Charming Shoppes Inc. has projected 105 closings in 2012, with the majority being under the Fashion Bug name.
Under the terms of the Collective Brands transaction, Blum Capital and Golden Gate will jointly acquire Payless and Collective Licensing International. While they will operate together as a standalone entity, Payless will remain headquartered in Topeka, KS, and Collective Licensing International’s headquarters will stay in Englewood, CO. Wolverine will acquire Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group, which includes the wholesale and retail operations of the Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds brands. The brands will join Wolverine’s existing portfolio, which includes Hush Puppies, Merrell and Wolverine. Chain StoreGuides database of Department Stores includes information on the above mentioned retailers, department store companies and shoe retailers.