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CVS Caremark offers to buy back $1B in senior notes

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark announced on Monday that it has commenced tender offers to refinance a portion of its debt.

The company has commenced cash tender offers for any and all of the 6.6% senior notes due 2019 and up to a maximum amount of the 6.125% senior notes due 2016 and 5.75% senior notes due 2017 such that the aggregate principal amount of the maximum tender offer notes tendered and accepted for purchase is equal to $1 billion less the aggregate principal amount of the any and all notes tendered and accepted for purchase. 

"This tender offer allows us to take advantage of the current favorable interest rate environment," stated Dave Denton, EVP and CFO. "We expect to record a one-time expense in the fourth quarter of 2012 related to the tender. We also expect to extend a portion of our debt at lower rates, which will reduce our interest expense going forward."

In separate company news, Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark president and CEO, issued on Wednesday the following statement regarding the fiscal cliff: "CVS Caremark customers are the hard-working American families who are making decisions now about how to budget for the holidays and early next year. Their confidence has already been tested by persistent high unemployment and fragile economic growth. Our customers want to know that our leaders in Washington are working on their behalf to solve the real problems facing America."

"CVS Caremark is pleased that policy-makers of both parties appear committed to working together to avert the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ and focus on pragmatic, sensible solutions. What America and American families need now is follow-through.

"CVS Caremark urges President Obama and Congress to work together, on a bipartisan basis, to enact tax reform that spurs economic growth, entitlement reform that preserves America’s safety net for future generations and sound fiscal policy that sets the stage for long-term growth and job creation."

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Target to unveil exclusive Sam & Libby shoe line

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Target will unveil an exclusive collection of shoes made by Sam and Libby starting in May 2013, the mass merchandise retailer said Monday.

Target said the partnership with the shoe brand would be ongoing and feature 20 styles of women’s footwear with an expanded assortment of colors starting at $24.99.

"Sam and Libby are pioneers in the footwear industry, and this partnership delivers the designer fashion and affordable prices our guests love finding at Target," Target SVP apparel and accessories Trish Adams said. "The attention to detail reflected in each style is incredible, and we look forward to adding Sam and Libby for Target to our roster of exclusive brands."

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Retail foot traffic edges up on Black Friday, but sales decline slightly

BY Jason Owen

CHICAGO — Retailers saw increased foot traffic this Black Friday, but that didn’t generate higher sales, according to ShopperTrak, the world’s largest counter of retail foot traffic.

According to ShopperTrak’s analysis, when compared to Black Friday 2011, retail foot traffic rose 3.5%, to more than 307.67 million store visits. However, retail sales decreased 1.8%, with shoppers spending an estimated $11.2 billion on Friday, compared to $11.4 billion last year.

While sales may have slipped on Friday, those figures do not encapsulate the entire weekend. "Black Friday continues to be an important day in retail," said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. "This year, though, more retailers than last year began their ‘doorbuster’ deals on Thursday, Thanksgiving itself. So while foot traffic did increase on Friday, those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that is usually meant for Friday."

For more, you can access graphics from ShopperTrak’s analysis at this link. On Tuesday, ShopperTrak will unveil their estimates for the entire ‘Black’ Weekend, which will provide a better understanding of the overall picture for retailers this holiday season.

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