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Business Digest: N.Y. firm acquires Austin agency Leverage PR


PUBLIC RELATIONS

N.Y. firm acquires Austin agency Leverage PR

Leverage PR, an Austin marketing and public relations firm, has been acquired by New York-based Caliber Corporate Advisers, the two companies said Tuesday.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Founded in 2010 by Joy Schoffler, Leverage PR focuses primarily on serving clients in the financial services, technology and real estate sectors. It has, over the years, worked with more than 100 clients.

Caliber Corporate Advisers has worked with about 100 clients, as well, since its creation seven years ago. Its founder and CEO is Harvey Hudes.

Schoffler will remain with Leverage PR, which will continue to have its offices in Austin.

“Partnering with a team with an East Coast presence was a natural transition to offering our clients even more value and resources,” Schoffler said. “Knowing Harvey and I were aligned in our passion for creating a best-in-class agency that allowed room for growth for employees, access to more resources and an expansive network for our clients won me over, and I am excited for all the opportunities to come.”

RETAIL

Payless files for bankruptcy, will close 400 stores

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Payless ShoeSource, one of the largest specialty family footwear retailers in the country, is the latest retail chain to seek protection from its creditors while it reorganizes in federal bankruptcy court.

The company, based in Topeka, Kan., said Tuesday it will close nearly 400 poorly performing stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It hopes to modify leases for some other stores or evaluate them for closure. Tuesday’s announcement by the company did not indicate which stores would close.

In a statement, W. Paul Jones, CEO of Payless, said, “This is a difficult, but necessary, decision driven by the continued challenges of the retail environment, which will only intensify.”

Payless said it expects to continue to operate its business, honoring employees’ wages, health care coverage and other benefits without interruption. It also said customers’ existing gift cards with Payless stores and Payless.com will be honored. Future obligations to vendors and suppliers also will be honored, the company said.

In its filing, Payless said its assets were worth no more than $1 billion but that its liabilities were at least that large and could be as high as $10 billion.

SHIPPING INDUSTRY

UPS plans Texas shipping hub with 1,400 jobs

DALLAS — United Parcel Service has confirmed that it will open a new $200 million shipping center in the Dallas-area city of Arlington.

Arlington officials last week approved economic incentives for the more than 1 million-square-foot distribution center near Interstate 20.

UPS said Tuesday that the 110-acre project will eventually have 1,400 full-time workers.

“The new Arlington building is part of the strategic investments UPS is making to dramatically improve the efficiency and connectedness of our hubs, package centers and transportation network,” Craig Wiltz, UPS district president, said in a written statement.

The new Arlington shipping hub will open next year.

RETAIL

Staples shares jump on report of sale talks

NEW YORK — Shares of Staples Inc. jumped Tuesday on reports that the office supply chain is exploring a sale less than a year after it scrapped a $6.3 billion merger with rival Office Depot.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the company is in early talks with private-equity bidders. Staples said it has no comment on the report.

The stock closed Tuesday up 85 cents, or 9.8 percent, at $9.51.

Staples and Office Depot faced heavy regulatory resistance over their proposed merger, culminating in a federal judge blocking the deal. The companies abandoned the deal in May and said they would move forward with new business strategies.



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