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Retail roundup: Borders store closings, Urban Outfitters works to protect Banksy art, Home Depot hiring, Hautelook acquired by Nordstrom

February 19, 2011 |  6:00 am

-- Closing sales begin Saturday at the 200 Borders stores tapped for closure as part of the bookseller's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Thirty-five stores will be shuttered in California, including 21 in the Southland. The stores are expected to close by the end of April.

-- Urban Outfitters wants people to know that it isn't trying to get rid of a painting purportedly by street artist Banksy that appeared on the side of its Westwood store this week. Several works have popped up around Los Angeles in recent days, leading some to speculate that the elusive artist was staging a unique Oscar campaign for his documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop." Despite rumors that Urban Outfitters wanted to remove the painting -- dubbed the "Crayola Shooter -- the trendy chain told LAist that isn't so, saying it was proud to have the artwork on its store and was "doing everything in our power to convince the property manager not to touch this important work of art."

-- Springtime is like Christmas for the home improvement industry as consumers tackle painting projects, plant gardens and build new patios. To meet demand, Home Depot announced that it would hire more than 60,000 seasonal employees in time for the company's second annual "Spring Black Friday" event, which will mark the start of the industry's busiest shopping season.

Home Depot said it would hire and train new seasonal associates in every market in February and March. Spring Black Friday will include discounted prices on spring products during four weekends in spring.

-- Nordstrom announced that it had agreed to acquire HauteLook, a Los Angeles-based online private sales business that offers limited-time sales events on top fashion brands.

Nordstrom said the deal would enable it to participate in the fast-growing private sale marketplace and provide a platform to increase innovation. Like many retailers, the department store chain has been focusing on its multichannel strategy recently.

Nordstrom will acquire HauteLook -– which launched in 2007 and offers discounts of 50% to 75% on apparel, home beauty and other items -- for $180 million in Nordstrom stock with a portion subject to ongoing vesting requirements.

HauteLook will operate as an independent, wholly owned subsidiary, be managed by its current leadership and the HauteLook brand and website will remain separate from Nordstrom. 

-- Andrea Chang

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