Specialty women’s retailer Christopher & Banks, in the early stages of trying to turn around its fortunes, has told a suitor with a sweetened purchase deal that it will stick to its own plan, thank you very much.
The company’s board of directors on Thursday rejected an unsolicited offer of 80 cents a share from a subsidiary of CSC Generation Holdings, the private Chinese-American venture capital firm that is reviving the Herberger’s brand, according to an announcement released after markets closed.
Christopher & Banks’ stock jumped by nearly three-quarters on Friday before settling down to close at 47 cents a share, up by 51 percent.
The Plymouth-based retailer said in a statement that the board decided the offer from Carson’s Holdings “did not reflect the full, long-term value of the company … and, therefore, was not in the best interests of the company and its stockholders.”
The board “reaffirmed its commitment” to strategic initiatives underway under new Chief Executive Keri Jones and her management team.
Jones, a former executive at Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods, took over as CEO in February and has spent the past year installing a new leadership team. Results have been slow to come despite signs of what Jones has called “important progress.”
Earlier this month, Christopher & Banks reported disappointing third-quarter results and announced it would close 30 to 40 stores with expiring leases over the next 2½ years.
But Jones’ initiatives are showing signs of positive comparable sales and an improved gross margin rate in early fourth-quarter results, according to the company.
“The board’s confident that they’ve got the right team in place and we’re focused on the right things,” Jones said in an interview. “They’re just waiting to see results take hold.”
Christopher & Banks and CSC Generation were rivals in the bid to purchase the assets of Bon-Ton Stores — which includes Herberger’s, Younkers and Carson’s — in the wake of the company’s 2018 bankruptcy.
CSC Generation Holdings, based in Merrillville, Ind., edged out Christopher & Banks’ offer by $50,000, agreeing to pay $900,000 to acquire Bon-Ton’s intellectual property, which included a database of 24.5 million customer records and 5.6 million e-mail addresses.
In an interview with the Star Tribune in September, CSC Generation CEO Justin Yoshimura said the company is considering reopening Herberger’s stores in Minnesota, but that they likely would be smaller-format stores outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Yoshimura did not respond to a request for comment.