California Girls - Love those Fashions - but none is sweeter than one Lenoir City Girl or that Athens Girl, oh, except maybe that girl from South Carolina, or Texas, or, where are you from:

Listen, I work for the company and I am not one to start rumors but reliable sources saying things like this below are still scary. I just hope that all the good things that the customer's and the employee's are saying about Talbots means that it will come into the New Year, the New Presidential Year that is with a much brighter outlook.

Is this a miracle, a technology error or a cruel joke? This morning with my Morning Joe I accessed my company's stock watch on MarketWatch and saw the above. Overnight the stock jumped +972.76%. The report said that things were not as bad as it seemed and Talbots did convert $150 million to committed loan but really....
JAPAN: Talbots losses to hit Aeon figures reports
27 November 2008 | Source:

Losses at US retail arm Talbots are set to impact full-year profits at parent company Aeon, according to reports.
Aeon, Japan's second largest retail group, told Reuters that it would record a pre-tax, one-off loss of about JPY19bn (US$200m) linked to its US subsidiary.
That would cut the company's net profit by about JPY7.8bn, eating into projected full-year earnings of JPY11-15bn for the 12 months to February.
Women's apparel retailer Talbot's announced earlier this week that it would incur a net charge of US$138m related to the write-down of the assets of its J Jill retail chain.
Talbots is currently trying to sell J Jill in a bid to focus on its core Talbots retail business. It bought J Jill, which operates out of 283 stores, for $517m in 2006.

US: Talbots names Aeon executive as board chairman

31 July 2008 | Source:

Women's wear retailer The Talbots Inc has appointed an executive from its majority shareholder, Japanese retail conglomerate Aeon Co, as non-executive chairman of the board.

Mr Tsutomu Kajita, who has been a director of Talbots since 2005, is senior vice president, international operations for Aeon Company Ltd.

Trudy F Sullivan, Talbots president and chief executive officer, said: "The appointment of Mr Kajita as non-executive chairman further signifies Aeon and its management's commitment and confidence in our continued success and ability to execute our long range strategic plan."

The retailer has also named Gary Pfeiffer as independent lead director of the board, a new role with extra responsibility including serving as the chair of the board's newly created executive committee.

Hingham, Massachusetts based Talbots, which operates 869 Talbots and J Jill branded stores, earlier this month finalised the terms of a $50m loan from Aeon Co.

Black Friday Was Green for Some Retailers

Urban Outfitters and American Eagle are the winners, while retailers in the missy apparel space were disappointed.

Within the specialty apparel retailers, we believe the most successful Black Friday results were at American Eagle Outfitters (ticker: AEO) and Urban Outfitters (URBN). American Eagle ramped up its promotions to include 25% off the entire purchase and a buy one get one 50% off on all tops, driving significant traffic and sales. Not surprisingly, Urban Outfitters did not run specific promotions markdown levels at Urban Outfitters were below last year while the Anthropologie division had higher markdowns compared to last year.

The specialty apparel retailers that appeared to have the most disappointing weekend were primarily in the missy apparel space, including Ann Taylor (ANN), Chico's (CHS), and Talbots (TLB). We note that the teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) also had a very poor weekend, as it chose not to offer door busters or discounts. Most of the missy retailers had greater promotions than last year, with Chico's and Talbots exhibiting the greatest increase in discounting.

While several retail industry trade groups have released data suggesting a year-over-year increase in Black Friday sales, we do not believe our specialty retailers experienced same-store sales increase for November. We believe the same-store sales result released this Thursday will remain very weak. Urban Outfitters remains a favorite and is our only Buy rated stock in the specialty apparel universe as the company's impressive momentum, brand equity, and solid cash flow make it the most compelling story in the sector, in our view.

The Black Friday Ten: Retailers Who May Not See 2009 (BONT)(DDS)(TLB)(PIR)(CPWM)(WSM)(CHS)(SKS)(EBHI)(RDA) By 24/7 Wall St.
Last update: 7:41 a.m. EST Nov. 21, 2008
A year ago, not many people would have thought Circuit City would be in bankruptcy now. Linens 'n Things, Mervyn's, Whitehall Jewelers and Steve & Barry's have shut down or are closing huge numbers of locations since they moved into Chapter 11.

The most astonishing fact about the retail industry now is that the environment has gotten much worse than it was when each of these businesses began to fail. Sales at stores across the country will be down in total this holiday season. Some analysts believe that the numbers will be as bad as for any fourth quarter in thirty-five years.

3. Talbots (TLB) is another struggling operator. It recently announced that it would try to sell its J. Jill brand. This operation has 383 of Talbots 878 stories. It would be an understatement to say a company would part with that much of its operation if it did not need the money. And, TLB does. Its shares are just above $2, down from a 52-week high of $17.97. Research house Friedman, Billings, Ramsey recently predicted that the chain would cut its dividend to save money. In the last quarter, TLB lost $25 million. Revenue fell from $572 million in the period a year ago to $528 million in the most recent quarter. Talbots has $232 million in long-term debt. It can't afford to have sales fall another $50 million this holiday quarter.

Halloween Report on The Talbot's Inc. World's Scariest Stock: Talbots
By Alyce "I Put the AXE in" Lomax
October 31, 2008
It's Halloween, a time to ponder scary, spooky things that might be lurking in the shadows to hurt you. And if you want to talk "scary," let's talk about volatile, debt-laden retail "turnaround play" Talbots.
On the rare occasions that the stock's moves relate to anything we can glean, it's usually a frightening event, like when HSBC and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) pulled $265 million in letters of credit last spring. (Talbots' majority shareholder, Japan's Aeon, swooped in to save the day with a credit facility.)
As you might have gathered, Talbots has a lot of debt -- not the best idea in good times, and even worse in our current morbid market. Furthermore, Talbots hasn't even been able to cover its interest expenses with operating income. If that doesn't scare you, I don't know what will.
Talbots does have a lot of fans, judging by the comments I get on many of my not-so-optimistic articles, which says something about its brand. I also keep hearing that Talbots' merchandise has greatly improved this fall. Still, the macroeconomic headwinds are intense right now, and the older female demographic that Talbots and rivals like Chico's (NYSE: CHS) target knows how to pinch pennies when need be. I fear that even if Talbots' efforts finally produce more appealing merchandise, shoppers just won't be shopping.
I am learning a lot about SOX compliance in my graduate class of Accounting and Economics but what did I learn at Falcon Products about SOX. I learned what SOX Compliance was all about and what happens when CEO's are charged with all sorts of things if they lie to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 1999 Franklin A. Jacobs made the statement "With a loan from the state of Tennessee, he built a factory, in a rural area of the state, which originally employed fourteen people" at the University of Illinois's Inaugural Cozad Lecture, referring to a plant in Greenville, TN., he later purchased Shelby-Williams in 1999.

When he purchased Shelby-Williams according to Wood & Wood Products 12th Annual Survey of the Contract Furniture Industry was ranked number 11 in 1999's Top 25 survey. Mr. Jacobs and Falcon Products reported a loss in 2003 and froze the employee pension plan which was finally dissolved and taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. So I guess with his 3 year salary totaling in excess of $2,000,000 and anything else that he might have benefited from his statement, "When you help yourself you help others!!" should rather have been "Help yourself to that of others!!" might have been more appropriate. I wonder what Manny Steinfeld, the founder of Shelby-Williams would say about all that. He began Shelby-Williams in Tennessee in 1963. You can read more regard Manfred Steinfeld and his exploits in World War II HERE. Some other documents that I found are:

  • 1998 Executive Compensation for Shelby Williams.
    Speaking of salaries compare those of Manfred Steinfeld's to Franklin A. Jacobs salary beginning a year after he bought Shelby-Williams on up through 2002.


    Another belief he shared with his audience: "People are your best asset in everything you do, no matter what the business is." In his career he has consistently "put people first." And by so doing he has inspired incredible loyalty among his workers. With a loan from the state of Tennessee, he built a factory, in a rural area of the state, which originally employed fourteen people. This factory has now grown to be the largest employer in the county. On a visit to the plant, he was asked to preside over an "employee of the month" ceremony. When he learned that the winner couldn't read, Jacobs was astounded. He thought, "To excel at your job without being able to read, a person must really be smart." Then he had a brainstorm why not bring a literacy program into the factory? The resulting literacy and GED programs improved the lives of his workers, and also improved the quality of the work at his factory. Using the same philosophy, "when you help others improve, you help yourself," he found an in-house solution to a serious problem. Because the plant was located in a remote spot, it was difficult to attract top management. So, he educated his current employees, provided job training, and elevated the best to management positions. This factory is now managed from within by happy and loyal managers.

    Thirteen weeks ended August 2, 2003, compared to the thirteen weeks ended August 3, 2002

    The Company (Falcon Products) reported a net loss of $5.6 million in the third quarter of 2003 compared to net earnings of $0.3 million in the same period of 2002.

    David Bodamer April 16th, 2008
  • This is where I came in with Falcon Products. Can't anybody give me a GOOD JOB?

    Talbots Inc., the womens clothing chain that lost half its market value in 2007, fell the most in more than 14 years in New York trading after two banks canceled $265 million in letters of credit to the retailer.

    Talbots plunged $3.85, or 30 percent, to $9 at 2:20 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest drop since its initial share sale in November 1993, after saying yesterday that HSBC Holdings Plc and Bank of America Corp. ended the agreements.

    Losing the letters of credit means most suppliers in Asia wont ship goods to Talbots without up-front cash payments, said consultant Michael Appel of Quest Turnaround Advisors LLC. The retailer, which imports most its clothes, had $25.5 million in cash at the end of February, down from $35.9 million a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Following are the stories of companies, Falcon Products and The Talbots. Several similarities occur. Falcon owner Jacobs blamed the acquisition of Shelby Williams, Inc., Morristown, Tn., ( Falcon Products looks to acquisitions to meet sales goals ) and then blamed Shelby Williams for not meeting sales goals. The Talbots purchased J. Jill Group (Talbots profit dips due to J.Jill acquisition costs) and now seems to be putting pressure on them and their employees and blaming that company's poor performance for their downturn. - Mr. Frank Jacobs who lead Falcon Products, Inc. down the road to ruin and Mr. Arnold Zetcher who seems to be doing the same for The Talbot's Inc. Both Jacobs and Zatcher have managed to work out very lucrative retirement plans for themselves.
    Both claim St. Louis as their home.

    Here are links that I have found that deal with reform on reporting compensation packages and accounting practices that have been used to hide certain income for retiring CEO's:

    Update on Falcon Creditors Trust

    What they are seeking to do
    8th Circuit
    Bankruptcy Appellate Panel Decisions
    Falcon Products, Inc., et al., Debtors. Falcon Creditor Trust, Plaintiff-Appellant v. First Insurance Funding, Defendant - Appellee. Case No. 07-6036EM
    In determining whether pre-petition payments to a secured creditor (an insurance premium finance company) were preferential and avoidable under Section 547(b), bankruptcy court should conduct hypothetical liquidation test as of the bankruptcy petition date, not on the payment transfer dates.


    It must be a matter of Principle because Lawyers and Courts love people of High Principal

    For the reasons stated above, we reverse the bankruptcy courts decision on summary judgment and remand this case so that the bankruptcy court may consider any evidence in support of the Defendants 547(c) (Fastenal) defenses and determine the actual effect of the transfers, as directed by the Supreme Court in Palmer Clay Products v. Brown.

    Whether or not Fastenal recovered it's more than $10,000.00 is unclear to me at this time. I did find the following and that might be part of why this decision was so important:

    The following is a recent case update by Professor Dan Schechter, Loyola School of Law, regarding revival of guarantor liability after a preference payment.

    Creditor's Repayment of Preference Revives Guarantor's Liability; Unsecured Creditor May File a Claim for Post-Petition Attorney's Fees. [In re STNL Corp., 2007 Westlaw 4625246 (9th Cir. BAP).]

    You can read more about it in this report on Jones Day April 2008.
  • Read more about what the AFL/CIO says you can do regarding a flawed compensation system in which CEOs can take what they want from their companies and their shareholders with impunity.
  • Highest-Paid CEOs Fight Compensation Reform - Two organizations lobbying Congress for compensation reform, the Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Corporate Policy
  • For CEOs, failure can be lucrative - LA Times January 13 2008 - Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO, Angelo Mozilo, after driving his company to the brink of bankruptcy (or so the rumor mill had it last week), Mozilo now stands to make as much as $115 million in severance-related compensation if an acquisition of Countrywide by Bank of America goes through, which it almost certainly will.
  • 17 CFR Parts 228 and 229 - Final Rule: Executive Compensation Disclosure - Firms generally do not disclose the amount credited to executives' deferred compensation plans, and investors are thus unable to form even a ballpark estimate of the magnitude of stealth compensation provided through such arrangements.

  • The first Indian I met was in 1967 and he was Dr. Nehru, my Lincoln Memorial University World Lit professor. A congenial man with a great sense of humor. I met one Indian and one Pakistani on September 11, 2007. One was the wife of a Nuclear Engineer with the Tennessee Valley Authority. My Indian friend was fired from Talbots, having emotional problems from not being able to be close to family back home. The Pakistani fellow was involved in what was going on in Pakistan at the time. He had a friend that was imprisoned by Musharraf (Mush) and was angry that he couldn't email him until he was released. I contacted the SAC with the FBI because I feared him.

    I have an instructor now at LMU and she is Indian. Her husband is living in Ohio. I immediately put 2 and 2 together and thought, Ohio, Nuclear Engineer. She dropped another hint regard a company called Babcock & Wilcox during last night's class. Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) is a U.S.-based company that provides design, engineering, manufacturing, construction and facilities management services to nuclear, renewable, fossil power, industrial and government customers worldwide.I am still working on that. There is also a very nice Pakistani in our class too. Tin, Steel, Molten Lava or Nuclear Fission?

    All of Amy's doctors except for one was Indian during her cancer treatment. We decided we wanted to have a second opinion so got an appointment with Dr. Ebenezer, he was Indian!!!!
    Rumors - During my last year in undergraduate school at LMU a professor, Dr. Cynthia Squelch asked me to take a young Cherokee Indian to a tribe meeting in Cherokee, North Carolina. This young Cherokee Indian was in line to become the first full-blooded American Indian graduate of LMU, so upon her request I did so. She ended up dropping out of LMU because she had become pregnant. Next thing I heard it was my child. Then I heard it was one of the LMU Security Guards. I assure you it was not my child.

    Rumors - Fleetwood Mac - Dreams

    Your thoughts during deep sleep cannot hide the truth

    Rumors have always plagued my family. Growing up it was always rumored that my brother George Edward Payne had fathered an illegitimate child by one of the local beauties. This rumor followed our family for many, many years. It was mentioned to me many times by a close friend who has since passed on. Rumors have a way of playing themselves out after so many years. Yes, it is true, the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.

    Since I may have perspective employers coming to my site looking for something about me I want to go into my employment with Shelby Williams, Inc., Falcon Products, Inc., Commercial Furniture Group, Inc. of Morristown. The following may explain something about this space in time on my resume: Where they grasping for STRAWS???
    Commercial Furniture Group/Falcon Products, Morristown, Tennessee June 2004 to November 2006

    Material Buyer
    Working at the Falcon Products, Chair Manufacturing Plant in the Purchasing Department I was assigned to fill requisitions by creating purchase orders. Using AS/400 I created and maintained purchase orders, searched bill of materials (BOM) list to verify concise product identification for orders. Determined if product was in inventory before contacting vendors for pricing and availability. I worked for two months as a Staffing Solutions subcontractor.

    Buyout Coordinator
    After being hired full-time I coordinated purchases of furniture components for Falcon through seven vendors who manufacture and sell using the Shelby Williams name.
    Set up Vendor Contracts
    Set up Purchase Orders
    Used ERP software and MRP II systems
    Aligned Schedules to correspond with plant requirements
    Set time fence to ensure orders match production needs
    Assigned and worked with Out Source Vendors
    Purchased Domestic and Import products
    Worked with Company owned plant (Mimon)
    Set specifications and Developed Bids

    Cost Accountant
    When Buy Out was combined with Out Source I was assigned as a Cost Accountant where I assisted in material, labor and overhead costing. I quoted prices from bills of material to customer service representatives. I was lead auditor in quarterly inventories and required to work overtime verifying correct entry and costing following inventory. I was responsible for preparing the weekly excel spreadsheet report showing Production Cost to Labor Cost Percent. I ordered all office and some plant expendable supplies such as copy paper, pens, pencils, etc. (During this time I flew to Washington to interview with the Library of Congress.

    Many may not realize what the primary problem with the company was. The company could not or would not keep up with accumulated inventory. They amassed millions of dollars worth of unaccounted for inventory and misreported inventory to the Securities and Exchange Committee. I have accumulated much of what happened and can condense it if need be but following is only part of what happened:

    The Latest Word: Falcon Products

    During the over two years that I worked with Falcon Products, now known as Commercial Furniture Group, Inc. many changes took place. There are two links from the latest on what resulted from the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy of one of the largest Furniture Manufacturing companies in the U.S. Again, although speculated by many of the more senior employees, the companies CEO, Frank Jacobs, was never found to have been guilty of any wrong doing. When I first came to the company in June 2004, the company was struggling to regains solvency. Falcon started in 2003 by freezing it's pension plan, which was a company match pension plan. IBM is another company that is doing this for it's employees in 2008.

    The X-Men - They have Stumbled but as of Yet have not Fallen

    April 7, 2000 - Falcon soars - Acquisitions fuel manufacturer's growth St. Louis Business Journal

    Frank Jacobs told shareholders at the annual meeting in March that Falcon Cos. intends to double its sales and earnings over the next five years. After that, the chairman and chief executive said, "Our stated goal is to be a $1 billion company in the industry."
    In light of last year's performance, that hardly seems an exaggeration for Falcon, a St. Louis-based commercial furniture maker, whose customers include some of the biggest names in the hospitality, fast-food and office markets.
    The company's revenue grew 55 percent, going from $143.4 million in 1998 to $222.5 million in 1999, with the acquisition of Shelby Williams Industries Inc. in Morristown, Tenn.

    August 30, 2002 - Falcon Products unit gets order for D.C. convention center

    A division of Falcon Products Inc. has received a contract for 25,000 stack chairs for the Washington, D.C. Convention Center.
    The division, Morristown, Tenn.-based Shelby Williams, said it is the largest opportunity of its kind this year. Shelby Williams will supply the chairs through Design Purchase Link of Baltimore.
    The convention center is an $800 million project covering 2.3 million square feet, and is scheduled to open in March 2003.

    March 6, 2003 - Falcon Products looks to acquisitions to meet sales goals

    Falcon's last major acquisition was the $148 million purchase in 1999 of Shelby Williams, which makes seating for the hospitality, health-care and college markets.
    In 2002, Falcon closed a plant in Statesville, N.C. and downsized its Zacatecas, Mexico facility. The company also implemented a wage freeze for the company's 3,000 employees, Jacobs said. "By doing that we were able to maintain employment throughout the company at a good level," Jacobs said.

    February 20, 2004 - Falcon officers buck up, loan company $4 million

    Falcon had debt of $18.8 million in 1998. The purchase in 1999 of Shelby Williams, a manufacturer of furniture for the hospitality industry, drove debt up to near the $165 million mark, where it remains today, according to the company's annual report.

    In May 2004 a group calling themselves X-Men LLC invested in Falcon Products:

    An investors group bearing the name of comic book heroes X-Men has faith that Falcon Products Inc. will take off.
    Deerfield, Ill.-based X-Men LLC purchased enough stock in April to bump up its ownership in the troubled commercial furniture manufacturer to 7.46 percent, according to an April 29 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The value of the 677,263 shares is $2.4 million at a May 25 closing price of $3.55 per share.
    That makes X-Men -- owned by father James and sons Gregg, Neal and Mark Schneider -- the fifth largest shareholder of Falcon, according to Falcon's proxy statement filed Feb. 20 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Chairman and Chief Executive Franklin Jacobs is the largest stockholder with 22.6 percent of the company's shares.

    This article in the July 2004 - St. Louis Business Journal stated the following:

    On June 15, Falcon's violated loan covenants and need for cash led to a renegotiated loan agreement with Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management LLC. Oaktree provided Falcon with an additional $10 million, which raised its loan to $60 million.

    January 4, 2005 - Falcon Products Announces Expected Charge and Update on Financing Matters. Falcon Products Inc. appears likely to default on a $100 million bond issue, pushing the Olivette-based commercial furniture maker closer to bankruptcy.
    While Falcon has begun talks with a major bondholder about swapping debt for equity, the company said it doesn't yet know whether this transaction would work.
    If Falcon's current woes weren't enough, the Securities and Exchange Commission is questioning the company about certain accounting practices, as the furniture maker announces it will incur a significant charge related to inventory write-down.
    The write-down could exceed $20 million.

    Then the first of January 2005 came the news that most all were waiting for:

    Falcon Products Inc. said Tuesday that any financial restructuring of the troubled furniture maker is likely to be through bankruptcy.
    Falcon did not make an 11.375 percent interest payment on a $100 million bond offering within the 30-day grace period, which ended Jan. 14, and is now in default. It is already in default under its senior credit facilities. Falcon said it is negotiating with its lenders to give it additional liquidity while it negotiates a restructuring.

    Followed very closely by the news on February 1, 2005:

    Commercial furniture maker Falcon Products Inc. has filed for bankruptcy in St. Louis to allow for a financial restructuring, it said late Monday
    Everyone was sure that some action was inevitable when we heard that irregularities were found in July 2005:
    An investigation into accounting practices at bankrupt Falcon Products found certain former senior managers responsible for irregularities that resulted in nearly two years' worth of financial misstatements.

    Frank Jacobs in my opinion tried everything he could to save his company but too little to late. Logistics was a primary reason in the end that the company could not recover. I enjoyed working with the company but when they asked me to start telling vendors that we were going to pay them when I knew the truth I tendered my resignation, just before bankruptcy. The two managers of the plant pleaded with me to stay and help with inventories and accounting and I knew that finding another job would be hard. As a matter of fact I spent over a year before finding another job and thank God that the job I have found does have a very good insurance through CIGNA of Mass. and that is a miricle in itself. Logistics is not a problem with The Talbots but financing does seem to present a problem. The two crdit companies that sponsored Commercial Furniture Group, Inc. are still primary owners of the company. I heard a rumor that Wells Fargo does have a hand in Commercial Furniture Groups continuted operations but have found no proof of that. I have found that the primary lenders for The Talbots clothing chain are Japanesee Banking endevours both abroad and in this country, per SEC Filings. Much will be said about concerns of our countries dependence on foreign investors and I hope American's will pay attention to this. The Global Enconmy system which, if ordinary American's, such as myself, could understand might be something that would work, but I have not been privy to enough information about how it would work to know that much about it. If I had been allowed to remain in Washinton, D. C. in 1983 I am sure I would have continued my education in International Business at George Mason University, where I had been accepted. I doubt that the average American citizen knows enough about Global Economics to trust it. Well, the 2008 elections should be interesting to say the least.

    The commercial furniture maker overstated the value of inventory by $33.3 million and claimed revenue on transactions where products did not actually ship to customers, according to Falcon's audit committee report presented to the board June 21. A summary of the report was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) June 27.
    John Michael Clear, a partner at the Bryan Cave law firm, led the investigation at the request of Falcon audit committee members Melvin Brown, Martin Blaylock and Steven Roberts.

    By August 2005 Franklin Jacobs had resigned/retired as CEO of Falcon Products and had retained an attorney:

    Falcon Products Inc.'s former chairman, chief executive and founder, Franklin Jacobs, has retained attorney Art Margulis, a criminal defense specialist.
    The move follows Jacobs' June 21 resignation from Falcon. That same day the Olivette-based furniture maker received a report from the Bryan Cave law firm that said Falcon's financial statements were materially misstated for nearly two years as a result of accounting errors and irregularities.
    Jacobs said he hopes he has no need to use Margulis' services but took the action because of investigations into Falcon by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Attorney's office. The Missouri Division of Securities also is investigating Falcon.

    The ending of Falcon's Pension Plan came in November 2005:

    Falcon Products Inc. expects to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this month after reaching an agreement with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to terminate its pension plan, it said Wednesday.
    In late September, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri approved replacing the company's pension plan with a 401(k) plan. The pension plan removal is part of an effort by Falcon to get rid of $18.9 million in obligations.
    Then on November 15, 2005, Falcon Products, Inc. emerges as Commercial Furniture Group, Inc.
    Falcon Products Inc. emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday and was renamed Commercial Furniture Group, or CFGroup.
    The formerly publicly traded company, which manufactures five brands of commercial furniture, is now privately held by affiliates of Oaktree Capital Management and Whippoorwill Associates. Representatives of the new owners will serve on the company's board and work with the management team.
    John Sumner, president of CFGroup, said in a statement the company was the same in terms of its brands.
    The CFGroup has now hired a Logistics Company, UNYSON to handle all of it's supply chain functions.
    After executing a Logistics Services Agreement on December 31, 2005, Unyson immediately assumed control of CFGroup�s logistics operations on January 3, 2006. To support this effort, Unyson welcomed three long-time CFGroup transportation employees into its operating team. In doing so, we successfully transitioned some of the back-office activities to Unyson operating offices allowing the on-site employees to focus on more value-added activities. This approach also allowed Unyson to quickly develop strong relationships with CFGroup Customer Service to improve communication and facilitate exception management.
    April 2006 Seamus Bateson became the CEO of CFGroup:
    Seamus Bateson is leaving his post as president and CEO of a Furniture Brands International unit to take those titles at CFGroup.
    Furniture Brands said in a release that Jeff Young will be interim president of its Maitland-Smith division when Bateson leaves his post as president of the division April 21. In a statement, Young said the firm would begin a search immediately to fill the president's post at Maitland-Smith.
    Bateson said the CF Group "recruited me; I was not looking at the time. It is with real mixed feelings that I accepted the offer. I had a wonderful team ... at Maitland-Smith."
    He said Oak Tree Capital, majority owner of CF Group, offered him an equity position in the investment firm. Oak Tree Capital and Whippoorwill Associates are the key investors that bought the Falcon Cos. when it was struggling last year.
    The fight by many of the creditors that Falcon left "holding the bag", so to speak have organized a Trust and are as late as February 2007 are still trying to reclaim many debts that Falcon left. Among those are FASTENAL whose regional manager I have no use for personally:
    Falcon Products reorganized into a new business more than a year ago, but in the last six weeks, Falcon Creditors Trust has filed lawsuits against 388 companies that did business with Falcon in the three months before it sought bankruptcy protection.
    Dan Doyle, an attorney with Spencer Fane Britt & Browne in Clayton representing the trust, said his firm expects the suits, known as preference claims, have a face value of nearly $29.5 million.

    Although the following has nothing at all to do with me since I had or have no pension, I felt for many who were worried about their pension. Especially Bill Cameron (One of Jack Bauer's avid fans), who had taken me on to Mentor during this very stressful time. He was lead Cost Accountant for the Morristown plant. A wonderful fellow who was Secretary Treasurer of his Church. He remained through 2009 and I hope he received at least part of his pension. Will follow-up on that.

    Although the government does guarnatee pension plans under The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, once the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, PBGC, a non-profit, federally-created corporation, decide to takes a plan over there are limitations to what benefits are covered. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 made sweeping changes. The Act, which took a long and sometimes bumpy road to passage by Congress, replaces the funding requirements for defined benefit pension plans, imposes new benefit limits on underfunded plans and changes the premiums that the sponsors of underfunded plans must pay to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to insure a minimum level of benefits to their participants.
  • PBGC Assumes Pension Plans of Two Falcon Products Companies - November 22, 2005
    Falcon Products and Shelby Williams, along with seven other subsidiaries of Falcon Products, filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2005. The companies filed an application with PBGC to terminate the plans in June 2005, and sought bankruptcy court approval in September 2005. The bankruptcy court has ruled that the companies satisfy the legal test for terminating the plans, and the PBGC has determined that they meet all criteria under federal law to transfer their pension liabilities to the pension insurance program. The Falcon Products Inc. Retirement Plan and the Shelby Williams Industries Inc. Employees Pension Plan ended as of August 31, 2005. Together the plans are 44 percent funded, with about $26 million in assets to cover nearly $59 million in promised benefits. The PBGC estimates that it will be responsible for $31.6 million of the $33 million shortfall.
  • ERISA and PBGC - November - December 2007 - Distress Termination of Multiple Pension Plans: The Circuits Weigh In Until recently, the circuit courts of appeal had not considered how the "reorganization test" should be applied when a chapter 11 debtor-employer seeks court authority to implement a distress termination of multiple pension plans. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals was the first to do so in 2006. In the Kaiser Aluminum appeal "full benefits were received by some while others would receive only what is guaranteed under ERISA" In the Falcon case that was contested by the PBGC the appeals court found:
    Based on the bankruptcy court's factual findings that Falcon cannot survive outside of Chapter 11 bankruptcy without the $50 million investment which is conditioned on termination of the pension plans, the bankruptcy court correctly decided that under section 1341 termination of all three Falcon pension plans is warranted. Cf. In re Reynolds, 425 F.3d 526, 531 (8th Cir. 2005) (question of whether student loan debts pose "undue hardship" is a question of law which is reviewed de novo; subsidiary findings of fact on which the legal conclusion is based is reviewed for clear error), cert. denied, 127 S. Ct. 46 (2006). Accordingly, we affirm the district court�s order in turn affirming the judgment of the bankruptcy court.
  • House Delays Vote on Pension Plan Overhaul
  • Another provision of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 - At-Risk Plans. The Act creates an additional liability for �at-risk� plans. A plan is considered at risk under the Act if the plan's funding target attainment percentage is both less than 80% without regard to at-risk liabilities and less than 70% counting at-risk liabilities. The funded percentage is determined by subtracting both the carryover and prefunding balances from plan assets. The 80% test is phased in at 65% in 2008, 70% in 2009, 75% in 2010 and 80% in 2011 and thereafter. The plan determines the at-risk liabilities by assuming that workers eligible to retire in the next 10 years will retire as early as possible. The at-risk liability is phased in at 20% per year for each consecutive year the plan is at risk. If a plan is at risk for the current year and two out of the previous four years, a load of 4% of liability plus $700 per participant is added to the at-risk liability. Plans with 500 or fewer participants are not subject to the at-risk liability.

    If a plan sponsor meets one of the above tests, it avoids the at-risk designation, but is required to make up its overall funding shortfall over seven years.

    On September 11, 2006 a group of CFGroup employees were notified that we were being laid-off and we were to exit the company physically at that time although we would be paid through November 10, 2006. We were told that we would receive full pay for those two months and were allowed to receive unemployment plus any training that was offered by the Department of Employment Services. I used my TAA (Trade Adjustment Act) money to rent a Lincoln Continental and drive to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to have a teleconference interview with the Department of the Army, Medical Section, Walther Read Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland. They interviewed me from Houston, Washington and Bethesda. As you can see I didn't get the JOB. The TAA would have paid for technical training but the time involved in getting the money was too great and sadly it would not pay for the Graduate School that I have always wanted, only job related training. Evidently Graduate School is not considered training, I really don't know.

    My recomendations from Commercial Furniture Group, Inc.

    Much More on Falcon Products

    My next full-time job began on September 11, 2007 with The Tal-bots, Inc. in Knoxville. During that time my wife Amy found out she had Cancer and we amassed over $200,000.00 in medical bills, all paid for by my insurance with CIGNA. So this beats puddle-jumping but is just about as exciting.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - Talbots secures $50M loan to fund turnaround

    The Talbots Inc. announced Wednesday it is borrowing $50 million from Aeon Co. Ltd. The unsecured loan from the Japanese company will provide working capital to support the Hingham, Mass.-based clothier's turnaround plan, and will increase the capital lines of credit from $165 million to $215 million. Earlier this month, Talbots (NYSE: TLB) announced it was going to cut about 129 jobs or about 9 percent of its workforce; earlier this year the company announced it was cutting 5 percent of its workforce and was dropping its men's and children's line of clothing.

    Talbots to Ax 9% of Workforce to Cut Costs - Jun 8, 2008
    The Talbots Inc. will lay off about 9% of its work force in an effort to save $14 million, part of its stated goal to reduce its cost structure by a minimum of $100 million by the end of fiscal 2009.
    According to news reports, the direct marketer and retailer looked at 1,455 positions. A total of 104 people lost their jobs, and 25 open positions will not be filled

    Talbots shares fall as analysts stay neutral on stock - April 21, 2008 - Shares of women's apparel Talbots Inc. fell on Monday, as two analysts reiterated "Neutral" ratings on the women's apparel retailer following credit concerns.

    Last week, HSBC and Bank of America said they will either cancel or not renew lines of credit to the retailer. But Talbots said it has cash to fund business initiatives through the end of the year and reiterated fiscal 2008 guidance.

    It's tax time in Maryland. I got a refund that I didn't expect from the IRS. I had overpaid them $400.00 and got more than half of that back on April 17. Now, isn't that nice. My grandfather would be proud. Meanwhile, Talbot's gets a rap on the hand from the Maryland State Courts

    Pay back tax, Md. court orders retailer Talbots [The Baltimore Sun] Apr. 18--A Maryland court has ordered clothing retailer Talbots Inc. to pay $1.1 million in back state income tax, the latest victory in a long-standing campaign by Maryland to crack down on companies that avoid paying taxes by setting up Delaware holding corporations.

    The Maryland Tax Court ruled that Talbots owed the money for income taxes from 1993 to 2003. Talbots set up a subsidiary in Delaware called Classics Chicago to reduce its corporate income taxes

    06. Mrz 2008 | 15:30 Uhr - The Talbots, Inc. to Broadcast Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2007 Earnings Results Conference Call on the Web-TALBOTS HINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

    The Talbots, Inc. (NYSE: TLB) invites investors to listen to a broadcast of the Company's conference call to discuss fourth quarter and fiscal 2007 earnings results. The conference call will be broadcast live on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 10:00 a.m.

    Talbots Announces Cash Dividend-THE-TALBOTS-HINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

    The Talbots, Inc. (NYSE:TLB) today announced that at its meeting on February 28, 2008, the Board of Directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.13 per share payable on or before March 24, 2008 to shareholders of record as of March 10, 2008.

    February 13, 2008 - Talbots Senior VP Buys 17,500 Shares - By Associated Press

    The senior vice president of international and strategic planning at Talbots Inc., an apparel retailer, bought 17,500 shares of stock, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday.

    And That Same Day So does He get the benefit of the Dividend?

    The Talbots, Inc. Feb 13, 2008 - Talbots executive exercises options

    Ms. Mandell has been Executive Vice President of Stores since August 2004. From 2003 to 2004, Ms. Mandell was Executive Vice President of Stores and Talbots Kids. Ms. Mandell joined The Talbots, Inc. in 1983 as Store Manager, became District Manager in 1984, Regional Director in 1985, and was Senior Vice President, Stores from 1992 until 2003. From 1971 to 1983 she held various management and merchandising positions for Price's of Oakland in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and A.E. Troutman Co., a division of Allied Stores.
  • Feb 06, 2008 - UPDATE 2-Apparel cos struggle in Jan., Talbots cuts view (Recasts; adds Hot Topic and Talbots details, byline). By Alexandria Sage. LOS ANGELES, Feb ... cents. TROUBLE AT TALBOTS. Talbots said
  • February 8, 2008 - Talbots Still Tarnished - By Alyce Lomax

    Talbots (NYSE: TLB) has been a longtime struggler. Judging by its recent word, the troubles aren't over yet. (It's kind of ironic to remember Liz Claiborne (NYSE: LIZ) passed on J. Jill, supposedly having found it too pricey.)

  • Feb 06, 2008 - UPDATE 1-Talbots sees quarterly loss, closing 100 stores LOS ANGELES, Feb 6 - Talbots Inc on Wednesday said it expects a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of 23 cents to 28 cents per share, excluding items, after
  • Feb 06, 2008 - Talbots issues fourth-quarter warning LOS ANGELES, Feb 6 - Talbots Inc on Wednesday warned that it expects to post a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of 23 cents to 28 cents per share, excluding

  • Talbots Women's Scholarship Fund

    Talbots Women's Scholarship Fund, a program of the Talbots Charitable Foundation, will award $100,000 in scholarships to women determined to finally get that college degree.

    Five women will each be awarded $10,000 scholarships, and 50 women will each be awarded $1,000 scholarships. All applicants must be seeking an undergraduate degree from an accredited two- or four-year college or university, or vocational-technical school. Only applicants seeking a bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university are eligible to receive a $10,000 award. Scholarship awards are based primarily on financial need and previous achievements for women who earned their high school diploma or GED at least 10 years ago.

    The Talbots Omen

    1. If Talbots is in such rough shape, why didn't the company try to sell off the divisions?

    2. Is the news from Talbots part of a larger trend that's about to surface in the retail sector?



    In our opinion, such financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the net assets available for benefits of the Plan at December 31, 2006 and 2005, and the changes in net assets available for benefits for the years then ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

    Although it has not expressed any intention to do so, the Company has the right under the Plan to discontinue its contributions at any time and to terminate the Plan subject to the provisions set forth in ERISA. In the event that the Plan is terminated, participants would become 100% vested in their accounts.

    Pension Deficit Disorder (PDF)
    Changes in Accounting Standards and Government Regulation May Pose Additional Risks to Corporate Stakeholders

    The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) began to discuss dramatic changes to the rules for pension accounting. These changes were focused on moving pension plan funding status up in the financial statements: out of the footnotes and on to the balance sheet.

    This seemingly simple change has profound implications and was greeted by a cacophony of outrage by corporations. Companies cited numerous reasons why pension funding should remain a footnote item.

    In short, profiling companies with fraud-related risk identifies companies more likely to suffer from other related risks. This was borne out most recently with the options backdating scandal. Over the period of 1996 to 2002, companies involved in the options backdating scandal had lower AGR��s on average than the rest of the population, and almost 70% had prolonged periods of aggressive accounting and governance as measured by AGR�.8 With that in mind, and using our database of financial statement footnotes, we were able to identify companies that currently are using what appear to be aggressive actuarial assumptions in their pension valuations, and that have had Aggressive or Very Aggressive AGR� ratings in the past year.

    The resulting list of 61 companies (see Table 2) represents firms that we believe (Audit Integrity is the leading provider of accounting and governance risk (AGR�) analysis on public companies.) warrant close monitoring in the months ahead. Listed among those companies with Aggressive AGR within the Past Year and with Aggressive Actuarial Pension Assumptions is The Talbots, Inc.

    The changes being implemented by government regulation and FASB will have a huge impact on the way pension plans are reported, and bring about greater transparency. But while �Information Arbitrage� may be eliminated, the use of a number of assumptions leaves much room for management in how to report pension numbers. Seemingly minor changes can in effect have a huge impact on the balance sheet. Investors, insurers, auditors and other interested parties must pay close attention to these assumptions to avoid unwanted risk.

    Talbots says CEO Zetcher plans to retire

    Feb 12, 2007 (Reuters) - Clothing retailer Talbots Inc. (TLB.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Monday that its Chairman and Chief Executive Arnold Zetcher plans to retire in early 2008, after leading the company for 20 years.

    When he's not in Hingham or at the track, Zetcher is on what he calls his "Madonna Farewell Tour." It entails visiting every region and as many stores as possible to say goodbye to as many associates as possible.

    Talbots has appointed a special search committee to select a successor and has hired executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to assist the panel, the company said.

    Regarding Arnold Zetcher's horse racing endeavor the following appears in the September 13, 2003

    Zetcher's ownership experience began on a positive note two years ago when Gabriellina Giof (GB), the second horse Zetcher owned, won the Manhattan Beach Stakes at Hollywood Park in her first start for him.

    "It was my first winner after five months in the game and her first start since coming over from Europe," recalled Zetcher, who attended the race. "It was so exciting, I told Ron that I thought I had won the Kentucky Derby (G1)." Zetcher's racing silks are shocking pink, teal, and chartreuse with a capital Z like the sign of Zorro on the back. "My wife's favorite color is pink," he explained. "Talbots is classic merchandise, and classic colors are pink and green. I wanted the Z on the back to personalize it a little."

    Zetcher will continue to serve as CEO through the end of the current fiscal year ending Feb. 2, 2008 and as Chairman through March 2008.

    "I look forward to continuing to oversee the company through 2007 or until a successor is in place." Zetcher said in a statement. Zetcher will remain chairman of Talbots' board through March 31, 2008.

    Let's PROBE STROBE, that works for me.

    Six Firms Added to Saipan Sweatshop Lawsuit - Levi Srauss, Calvin Klein, Brooks Brothers, Abercrombie and Fitch, Talbots

    This month, the last of three lawsuits over sweatshop conditions on the U.S. island of Saipan came to a close...While the settlement is viewed as a significant victory, several challenges emerged, which lend valuable lessons for future anti-sweatshop campaigns.

    Saturday, June 2, student activists from the UW and Seattle University, along with several community members, staged a large protest at the downtown Macy's and Talbots stores, which resulted in the detainment of three demonstrators by Macy's private security.

    The demonstration was organized by the Seattle United Students Against Sweatshops Coordinating Committee in response to reports of workers' rights violations in Guatemalan factories that produce apparel for both retailers.

    Cimatextiles is a factory in Guatemala that produces apparel for Talbots, Charter Club and Liz Claiborne. The factory has drawn the ire of student activists as a result of attempts to bust the worker's union, which is mostly comprised of women factory laborers.

    Talbots shares were up more than 1.5 percent at $24.79 in midday trade on the New York Stock Exchange. I wonder if Mr. "Z" sold his Talbot stock when it was $24.79?

    As per his contract, Zetcher continues as Chief Executive Officer of the company through the end of this fiscal year and as Chairman through March 2008.

    Zetcher earned just below $2 million in salary and bonus payments during 2005. In 2005, Talbots' Board of Directors approved a change in the company's pension and supplemental retirement plan. This plan would grant Zetcher an annual payment of 50% of his average compensation at retirement, amounting to $944,144 payment as of January, 2006. According to the AFL/CIO website Talbot's CEO Arnold Zetcher total compensation in 2006 was estimated at $4,993,367.

    DNR - Defining Men's Fashion's NEW YORK - Sullivan Leaves Claiborne to Head Talbots - At Claiborne, she was passed over as CEO last year (2006). She was the leading inside candidate but the company selected William L. McComb, who worked as a group president at Johnson & Johnson, to succeed Paul Charron.

    It appeared that Sullivan was recently dealt another disappointment when a management shake-up, announced June 20, 2007, shifted her from serving as president of the entire corporation, to supervising the "partnered brands," a compilation of labels including Liz Claiborne, Monet, Dana Buchman and Ellen Tracy, while keeping the president's title. Jill Granoff was promoted to executive vice president of direct brands, which includes "power brands" like Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand, effectively placing her on the same level as Sullivan.

    Sullivan disputed speculation she was no longer content at the $5 billion Claiborne and wanted out. "I would have been very happy to stay put at Liz," Sullivan said. "Talbots is the only thing that would have pulled me out. It's thrilling. Talbots is such a distinguished brand. I've known it for years." Exactly the way I felt Trudy. I am stumbling all over myself trying to find a buyer for my house in Claiborne County.

    Jetset growing at Mach 1 pace

    Friday, July 13, 2007 - Talbots didn't return calls seeking comment. But FAA records show it owns part-ownership in four planes, three Cessna 750s and one Cessna 560XL. In its annual proxy, Talbots reported that its CEO is permitted to use the aircraft for both personal and business travel "for security, personal safety and business efficiency reasons." The company estimated the personal travel alone for CEO Arnold Zetcher was worth $272,885 last year, but didn't provide additional details about the business travel. Trudy Sullivan is slated to replace Zetcher on Aug. 6.


    July 02, 2007 Sullivan Leaves Liz For Top Role At Talbots

    Liz Claiborne Inc. president Trudy F. Sullivan resigned last week to take the top role at Talbots Inc. Sullivan will succeed former Talbots president and CEO Arnold Zetcher, who is stepping down after two decades at the company.

    Sullivan will be charged with reversing waning sales at Talbots and its J. Jill property. However, her experience at Liz Claiborne should bode well. Both Claiborne and Talbots focus on customers over 35 and carry strong brand loyalty.

    More on Talbots CEO
    Estimated compensation by the AFL/CIO $4,993,367 during 2006

    The new Pres., CEO of Talbots is a former CEO of Liz Claiborne, Trudy F. Sullivan.

    Before leaving as Chairman of Liz Claiborne she said the following - "Liz Claiborne is finishing up a year of costly restructuring brought on by new CEO William McComb. It sold off many of its smaller lines in 2006. While Liz sells worldwide, only 28% of sales in 2006 came from outside the U.S.. To drive future growth, the company will make the effort to expand in Europe and Asia.

    Chairman Trudy Sullivan explained that the main drivers for growth will be acquisition of smaller brands that the company hopes will become tomorrow's hot luxury brands as well as expansion into China and India. In July, the company will unveil further plans.

    Ms. Sullivan, 57, will lead Talbots with 35 years of retail and merchandising experience and a strong knowledge of the specialty retail sector from former leadership roles at both Liz Claiborne, Inc. and J. Crew Group, Inc. As the former President of Liz Claiborne, Inc., Ms. Sullivan was responsible for building and leading multiple apparel and non-apparel men�s and women�s brands. Her extensive merchandising career began in Boston, where she started as a Buyer for Jordan Marsh and then Filene�s."

    Talbot's Inc. cut off contributions to it's company matched pension plan to all participants that will be hired after December 31, 2007. Talbot's is offering 401K plans to those hired after January 1, 2008 though.

    Talbot's Inc. is listed in the 100 largest plans in terms of pension assets in the nation according to 2006 Annual Pension Plan Best and Worst Investment Performance Report, FutureMetrics, Inc. Although amoung the top 100 in 2006 was reported as in the low 25 with investments reporting (median returns of 6.41%) or saw their median funding levels deteriorate by 0.52%.

    John Fiske, Senior V.P. Human Resources - The Talbots, Inc. Pension Plan (the "Pension Plan") - Employees employed on December 31, 2007 will continue ability to accrue future benefits. But, those hired after December 31, 2007 will be unable to participate in the Pension Plan. Could this be Deja VU for me? I have apprehension having worked for Falcon Products for over three years. I have people (vendors) that now accuse me of being a part of a scheme to rip them off.

    Talbots increases number of stores it will close
    Thursday, February 7, 2008 - The Talbots Inc. retail chain that operates Talbots and J. Jill stores will close 22 more stores than previously planned as part of a plan to become profitable this fiscal year.

    Talbots closing men's, kids' clothing stores
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS i January 4, 2008

    Retailer Talbots Inc. said today it will close 78 stores for kids or men by September and discontinue those businesses as part of a bid to focus more on its core customer -- women who are 35 years old or older.

    Locally, Talbots has stores in Freehold Township, Shrewsbury and Wall, but none are stores dedicated to the men's or children's clothing lines.

    The company also said its fourth-quarter sales so far were trending lower for both its Talbots and J.Jill brands.

    Its shares tumbled 84 cents, or 7.9 percent, to $9.84 in morning trading Friday after sinking to a 52-week low of $9.63 a share earlier in the session.

    Talbots said it will close 66 Talbots Kids stores and 12 Talbots Mens stores in a move that will affect about 800 full- and part-time jobs, or about 5 percent of the total Talbots work force, the company added.

    The retailer said the decision to close the brands was part of the company's strategic business review first announced in October.

    In that review, Talbots said it found the concepts did not "demonstrate the potential to deliver acceptable long-term return on investment.''

    Talbots said it will redirect resources to its other businesses.

    The company said total revenue would be affected by about $100 million per year. The chain added it should realize operational benefits of about $13 million to $15 million, or 15 cents to 18 cents per share, each year.

    Talbots also said it expects to record pretax expenses for the closings of about $5 million, or 6 cents per share, in the fourth quarter and expenses of about $34 million to $42 million, or 40 cents to 49 cents per share, in fiscal 2008.

    Friday's announcement of the closings, affecting 800 employees, came as Talbots announced that fiscal fourth-quarter sales have so far fallen below expectations at its 1,157 Talbots stores, and the 271 J. Jill locations it bought in 2006.

    The warning, following two consecutive quarterly losses, spooked investors, who sent the stock to its lowest level in nearly a decade. Shares of Talbots fell $1.22, or 11.4 percent, to $9.46. The last time the stock sank below the $10 level was in October 1998.

    Tata Motors will introduce its $2,500 �People�s Car�On January 10, 2008 at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi. The company plans to begin production of the low-priced vehicle in 2008.

    Tata group chairman Ratan Tata has said that the new car, a 33hp, four-door, rear-engined vehicle, is aimed at attracting current two-wheeler customers in India, and would be slightly larger than the smart car.

    33-hp! The Smart Car is relatively heavy for its wheelbase. I'm guessing this car comes in at 1,000 pounds, and will still make a 1954 VW bug seem muscular. For the congested, stop and go driving in Mumbai that's probably fine. I wonder how clean it is at low RPM and high torque loads?

    Visit the U.S. Site for the 9th Auto Expo BuyUSA.GOV Its max speed may be only 70 mph (120 km/h), but its good enough for city driving or for usage as a secondary car.

    Nov 9, 2007 - Indian manufacturer Tata Motors is set to start vehicle assembly in South Africa in 2008.

    Tata Motors head of corporate communications Debasis Ray says plans are to assemble both commercial and passenger vehicles in South Africa - which has become the company's largest international market.

    Tata Motors plans to initiate completely knock-down manufacturing of three next-generation vehicles in South Africa, namely a hatchback car, a pick-up, and a one-ton payload mini truck.

    In addition to this, light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles chassis will be assembled from semi-knock-down kits.

    NEW DELHI, Sept 11, 2007 (Reuters) - India's Tata Steel Ltd (TISC.BO: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's sixth-largest steelmaker, is looking at building a steel plant in South Africa, a senior company source said on Tuesday.

    "Talks are on," the official, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters. "It could be around 5 million tonnes if they give us coal and iron ore mines."

    Tata Steel, which currently imports 1.3 million tonnes or 30 percent of its annual coal requirement, sees that rising to 2 million tonnes in future, the official said.

    January 3, 2008 - India�s Tata Motors was named by Ford as the preferred buyer of the U.S. car maker�s Jaguar and Land Rover models.

    Asia Times - Cash-strapped Ford - the number two US-based car maker - has been mulling a sale of Jaguar and Land Rover for a while. Jaguar, which Ford purchased in 1989 for US$2.5 billion, has been bleeding losses. The US company has poured in at least $10 billion to revive it but to no avail. Last year, Jaguar's losses more than trebled to $327 million from $89 million in 2005. Analysts predict that this year's losses could reach $550 million, followed by a further US$300 million loss in 2008.

    Land Rover, which Ford bought in 2000 for $2.9 billion, was in the red too some years ago but it bounced back to the point where it is experiencing strong sales and, unlike Jaguar, is making money.

    Ford's decision to sell Jaguar and Land Rover together is partly because the two marques already have strong management and technical bonds, sharing senior executives and their products having the same engines and other components. But the decision has more to do with Ford's desperation to get the bleeding Jaguar off its hands. Ford is offering the Land Rover as a sweetener in a deal in which Jaguar is estimated to fetch about $1.5 billion.

    Should Tata Motors Buy Jaguar and Land Rover?

    According to Ken Gorin, chairman of the Jaguar national dealer council in the US, American dealers think of India as a third world country rather than a place where prestige branded cars would be produced.

    Tony Woodley, general secretary of Unite, Jaguar and Land Rover's main labour union, said much still needs to be negotiated with Tata. MORE ON UNION TALKS.

    Pension News 9-21-07

    GM and Toyota provide UAW workers at their New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. joint venture in Fremont, California, with retirement pay that is one-third funded by a traditional pension with the rest from a 401(k), said Sean McAlinden, an analyst at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    That plan costs the automakers about half as much as a traditional pension, he said.

    The benefit of a shift from a pension to a 401(k) isn�t necessarily in upfront payments to employees, said Dallas Salisbury, CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a nonpartisan group that tracks pension issues in Washington.

    "It�s over the very long term, and what they eliminate is balance-sheet liability and balance-sheet volatility," he said.

    Last year, GM said it would freeze the pensions of 36,000 nonunion salaried workers and switch to a 401(k). It also has capped health-care spending for salaried workers at 2006 levels.

    "We need further and more detailed meetings and discussions with Ford and Tata which will focus on the job security of our members in the Jaguar, Land Rover and Ford plants in the U.K.," he said in a statement.

    Unite has said it would prefer Tata if the company is sold.

    Comment -It was sad enough to see Rolls Royce fall into BMW's hands, even sadder to see Legendary Bentley fall into Volkswagen's hands! But lets face it, the Germans build great cars! But Jaguar & Land Rover into Indian Hands? What do prestige cars & India have in common? I heard enough jokes in '02 when I bought my 1st Jaguar "nice jazzed up Ford" There is no way I can buy another. The first joke will be something like "nice curry moblile" or worse! I guess I will try another Cadillac or even a BMW.

    Sources following the development say that the Tatas could be interested more in outsourcing of components for the two brands into India. On the other hand, it would be in the interest of Ford as well as the labour, if the former continues to supply critical parts to both these brands. This is also what the labour leaders would prefer as they have to contend with the threat of lay-offs and retrenchment if those jobs move to India.

    But for Tata's to continue sourcing components from Ford would mean that they go against the established industry practice where no car company sources components from another car manufacturer, said one industry source. Moreover, the deal would look more attractive if cost synergies could be achieved by moving production to India at the cost of capacity utilisation at Ford�s plants in the UK. Some hard bargaining would be needed on this point if Tatas are to win the bid.


    Retail clothing manufacture, The Talbots Inc., (For who I presently work) is primarily owned by a Japanese conglomerate called Aeon Co., not Al-Anon, and has appointed non-executive chairman of the board named Tsutomu Ka-j-ita. ("The appointment of Mr. Kajita as non-executive chairman further signifies Aeon and its managements commitment and confidence in our continued success and ability to execute our long range strategic plan," said Talbots Chief Executive Trudy Sullivan in a statement) Losses at US retail arm Talbots are set to impact full-year profits at parent company Aeon, according to reports. Aeon, Japan's second largest retail group, told Reuters that it would record a pre-tax, one-off loss of about JPY19bn (US$200m) linked to its US subsidiary. In May 2001, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Greenpeace informed Talbots shareholders that their majority shareholder, AEON, sold whale dolphin and porpoise products in its stores in Japan. At that time, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) called on their respective members to help bring attention to this issue by participating in educational demonstrations and sending letters and postcards to Talbots. EIA and our constituents, asked Talbots to facilitate discussion with AEON to help stop the sale of whale, dolphin and porpoise products in AEON owned stores in Japan. EIA was delighted to report that AEON and the coalition have reached a mutual understanding.
    The JUSCO name was adopted in 1970 by a company originally founded as a kimono silk trader in 1758. Renamed �ON in 1989, it operates stores throughout Japan under JUSCO and other names, and also has a presence in Malaysia, Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan and Thailand,[1] although the Taiwan operations are scheduled to end on December 18, 2007

    Talbot's is primarily owned by Tokyo-based retailer AEON who owns about 55% of the company. A Japanese company. Japan United Stores Company, a chain of "General Merchandise Stores" (or hypermarket) and the largest of its type in Japan. The various JUSCO (NO RELATION TO THE INDIA COMPANY) companies are subsidiaries of �ON Co., Ltd. Another story that was prominent in 2001 was Trendy Talbots Tied to Tasteless Sales and The IWC: The Fate of the Whales in the Balance as a result the following" "The efforts we (IWC) began in 2001 to pressure Talbots clothing store majority shareholder AEON (formerly JUSCO) to stop selling whale, dolphin, and porpoise products in its stores in Japan succeeded this year when AEON agreed to substantially reduce such sales. Really, why would you blame Talbots for something they have no earthly control over?

    The Monthly Newsletter of Society Hill Synagogue

    With the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, it is imperative that we maintain a well-informed community in order to mobilize and be effective advocates on behalf of Israel. The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia is a resource for useful information. Here are some suggested activities:

    * Invest in Israel. Buy Israeli stocks, bonds and products (call America- Israel Chamber of Commerce, 215-790-3722). The Gap, J. Jill and Talbots carry Israeli clothing. Many kosher food products as well as housewares are made in Israel and are available in local supermarkets and stores.
    TATA STEEL OF INDIA. Sunday, Aug 26, 2007 - British influence of India unappreciated or was Ta Ta really derived from none other than Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata. See we don't need you any more because we have figured it out. And that corporate entity is the Jamshedpur Utilities & Services Company Ltd (JUSCO), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Steel. Be sure to lay wide streets planted with shady trees, every other of a quick growing variety. Be sure that there is plenty of space for lawns and gardens. Reserve large areas for football, hockey and parks. Earmark areas for Hindu temples, Mohammadan mosques and Christian churches". Such is the legacy of TATA STEEL and its subsidary JUSCO. Since it was formed in 2004, JUSCO - which is the erstwhile Town Division of Tata Steel - has not only demonstrated its expertise in providing civic amenities and allied services to the people in and around Jamshedpur, the company has also extended its footprint to areas beyond Jamshedpur and its periphery.
    Patriot Equities plans to retain the original facade of the Hecht distribution center on New York Avenue. I remember buying a new black suit at the Hecht Store on New York Avenue way back in the 70's.

    Macy's, Inc. (NYSE: M), formerly Federated Department Stores, Inc., is a department store holding company and owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's department stores. Now, I am not sure if JUSCO, the large retail foodchain that is the primary owner of Talbot's is the holding company of the Talbot stores or not. Developer Purchases Old Hecht's Warehouse

    Downtown D.C. clothing stores, my wife just reminded me of where her parents shopped back in the 1960's and 1970's. It was Lord & Taylor an exclusive clothing store that is still located all around the D.C. area. She remembers the Bird Cage Restaurant where they ate as a family. And the HECHT Department Stores.

    The Washington Post - February 2005 - Federated Agrees to Buy Owner Of Hecht's

    Federated Department Stores Inc., owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, has agreed to acquire May Department Stores Co., operator of Hecht's and Lord & Taylor, for about $10.4 billion, executives close to the talks said Sunday.

    The House of Reprensentatives and the Senate have both passed the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (H.R. 4, Public Law 109-280), a massive tax law aimed at strengthening pension funds and providing a multitude of other tax changes. The President signed the bill into law on August 17, 2006. Here's a summary of the major tax law changes enacted in the Pension Protection Act.
    Pension Provisions

    The bulk of the Pension Protection Act is designed to force employers to shore up their pension plans. Many pensions are underfunded, which means that promised pension benefits could potentially exceed the funds available, leaving pensions strapped for cash. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 "requires most pension plans to become fully funded over a seven-year period" starting in 2008, according to a CCH Tax Briefing. To achieve full pension funding, the new law allows employers to deduct the cost of making additional contributions to fund the pension, provides strict funding guidelines, and imposes a 10% excise tax on companies that fail to correct their funding deficiencies.

    Prior to the Pension Protection Act of 2006 ("PPA"), the funding rules required that pension plans keep a "funding standard account" ("FSA"). Keeping the FSA balanced entailed adding credits for employer contributions and charges for liabilities. Under these pre-PPA rules, plans had 30 years to amortize "past service liabilities" (liabilities based on time worked before the plan was instituted). Beginning in 2008, the PPA funding rules go into effect, and these dispense with the FSA for single-employer plans, requiring simply that these plans stay fully funded or make up the difference in 7 years. "At-risk" plans are governed by even stricter rules. The changes in the rules regarding interest rates are also important. Under the PPA, pension plans can only use interest rates from AAA-grade corporate bonds or better, whereas previously, BBB-grade corporate bonds could be used. The lower the grade of the bond, the higher the interest rate, which as a result requires less cash. Requiring a higher grade bond essentially means requiring much more cash, since even very small changes in the interest rate used results in drastically different pictures of funding status. The new interest rate rules also allow only 24 months of interest rate "smoothing" (i.e. averaging), which means pension plans are much more subject to the volatility of the market. The pre-PPA rules allowed smoothing over 5 years.

    Section 105 -

    Delays application of the funding rules for a PBGC settlement plan until January 1, 2014. Applies the third segment rate after 2007 and before 2014 to determine such a plan's current liability and required contribution.

    Employee Retirement Income Security Act - ERISA

    ERISA requires pension plans to provide for vesting of employees' pension rights after a specified minimum number of years and to meet certain funding requirements. It also establishes an entity, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), that will provide some minimal benefits coverage in the event that a plan does not, on termination, have sufficient assets to provide all the benefits employees and retirees have earned.

    Under the new reform acts, Pension Protection Act of 2006, passed by congress in 2006 a company can borrow against it's pension plan and have up to 14 years to repay it's loan. The British Company, talbotsSolicitors offers, Pension Scheme Deficits Action Plan