Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Staples offers more for Corporate Express


corpexpress1.jpgCheck out Staples’ higher offer for Corporate Express.

The U.S. office supplies retailer offered to buy the Dutch company for $2.65 billion – up from its previous unsolicited offer of about $2.34 billion — even as Corporate Express is trying to fight off the takeover bid with a bid of its own.

The Dutch company said in May that it would buy French rival Lyreco for about $2.2 billion, creating the largest business-to-business distributor of office supplies in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

On Tuesday, Staples raised its offer, contingent on Corporate Express shareholders rejecting the Lyreco bid. Corporate Express said it would carefully review Staples’ offer and respond in due course.

Analysts think the U.S. retailer’s bid might bear fruit this time around, although Corporate Express could still try to delay it.

Check Out Line: Tiffany still sparkles overseas


tiffany.jpgCheck out how Tiffany sparkles overseas.
Forget the United States (where Tiffany does not expect sales to improve until later this year). They are still buying baubles in Europe.
Sales in Europe rose 30 percent in the first quarter. And that was on a CONSTANT CURRENCY basis. No help from the weak dollar in that number. The company added four more stores, which helped, as did the 12 percent increase in same store sales.
Asia also saw a 10 percent increase in sales on a constant currency basis.
The U.S. consumer may be under pressure. But apparently there are still sales and profits to be mined overseas.
Also in the basket:
April personal spending up, flat after inflation 
J Crew cuts year earnings outlook, shares drop 15 pct

NexCen cuts 25 pct of New York workforce, mulls options 

Coach’s gateway to growth in China (WWD)

(Photo: Reuters)