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The following is an excerpt from a 10-K SEC Filing, filed by BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY WAREHOUSE CORP on 8/27/1999.
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BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY WAREHOUSE CORP - 10-K - 19990827 - PART_I

PART I

Item 1. Business

Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation and its subsidiaries (the "Company" or "Burlington Coat") operate a chain of value-oriented department stores which offer a broad range of moderate to higher priced, current brand name merchandise for men, women and children at prices substantially below traditional full retail prices generally charged by other department and specialty stores. Burlington Coat offers customers a complete line of men's, women's and children's wear and accessories (such as handbags, belts, perfume, watches, etc.) as well as a linens, bath shop items, gifts and luggage department in two hundred thirteen of its stores, a children's furniture department in one hundred ninety-five of its stores, and a shoe department in two hundred eight of its stores. The Company's policy of buying significant quantities of merchandise throughout the year, maintaining inventory control and using a "no-frills" merchandising approach, allows it to offer merchandise at prices below traditional full retail prices. The sale of irregular or discontinued merchandise represents only a small portion of the Company's business. Merchandise is displayed on easy access racks, and sales assistance generally is available. Clothing alteration services are available on a limited basis in many stores for an additional charge.

Burlington Coat's practice of purchasing outerwear early in each fashion season and of reordering in rapid response to sales has enabled it to maintain a large, current and varied selection of outerwear throughout each year. Although the Company believes that this practice helps attract customers to its stores, to the extent the Company maintains a relatively large volume of merchandise, particularly outerwear, the risks related to style changes, weather and other seasonal factors, and economic conditions are necessarily greater than if the Company maintained smaller inventories.

An important factor in Burlington Coat's operations has been its continued ability to purchase desirable, first-quality current brand labeled merchandise directly from manufacturers on terms at least as favorable as those offered large retail department and specialty stores. The Company estimates that over 1,000 manufacturers of apparel, including over 300 manufacturers of outerwear, are represented at the Company's stores, and that no manufacturer accounted for more than 5% of the Company's purchases during the last full fiscal year. The Company does not maintain

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any long term or exclusive commitments or arrangements to purchase from any manufacturer. No assurance can be given that the Company will be able to continue to purchase such merchandise directly from manufacturers or to continue its current selling price structure. See "Competition."

The Company sells its merchandise to retail customers for cash and accepts checks and most major credit cards. The Company's "Cohoes" division also offers its own credit card. In addition, the Company maintains a layaway plan and offers special orders on selected merchandise. It does not offer refunds, except on furs, defective merchandise and certain sales from specialty retail operations, but will exchange merchandise or give store merchandise exchange slips for merchandise returned within a prescribed period of time.

The Company advertises primarily on television and, to a lesser extent, in regional and local newspapers and radio. During the past three fiscal years, advertising expenditures have averaged approximately 2.5% of total revenues.

The Company has two major product categories, apparel and non- apparel. Apparel includes all clothing items for men, women and children. Non-apparel includes linens, home furnishings, gifts, baby furniture and baby furnishings. Net revenues from the sale of apparel products for fiscal years 1999, 1998 and 1997 were $1.6 billion, $1.4 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. Net revenues from the sale of non-apparel products for fiscal years 1999, 1998 and 1997 were $0.4 billion, $0.4 billion and $0.3 billion, respectively.

The Stores

As of July 31, 1999, the Company operated two hundred sixty- two stores, all but twenty-one of which are located in leased facilities ranging in size (including storage space) from approximately 16,000 to approximately 163,000 square feet, with an average area of approximately 70,000 square feet. Total store gross square footage increased to 18,295,000 square feet, an increase of 6.1% over a year ago. Selling space accounts for over four-fifths of the total area in most stores.

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All of the Company's stores are either free-standing or are located in shopping malls or strip shopping centers. The Company believes that its customers are attracted to its stores principally by the availability of a large assortment of first-quality current brand name merchandise at attractive prices.

The Company also operates stores under the names "Cohoes Fashions," "Decelle," and "Luxury Linens." Cohoes Fashions offers merchandise in the middle to higher price range. Decelle offers merchandise in the moderate price range for the entire family with an emphasis on children's and youth wear. Luxury Linens is a specialty store for linens, bath shop items, gifts and accessories and offers merchandise in the middle to higher range. The Company also operates one stand-alone store under the name "Totally 4 Kids" and one stand-alone store under the name "Baby Depot".

In general, Burlington Coat has selected sites for its stores where there are suitable existing structures which can be refurbished, and, if necessary, enlarged, in a manner consistent with the Company's merchandising concepts. In some cases, space has been substantially renovated or built to specifications given by Burlington Coat to the lessor. Such properties have been available to the Company on lease terms which it believes have been favorable. See "Growth and Expansion."

The stores generally are located in close proximity to population centers, department stores and other retail operations and are usually established near a major highway or thoroughfare, making them easily accessible by automobile. It is likely that the Company would be adversely affected by any conditions which were to result in the reduction of automobile use.

The Company owns substantially all the equipment used in its stores and believes that its selling space is well utilized and that its equipment is well maintained and suitable for its requirements.

Some stores contain departments licensed by unaffiliated parties for the sale of items such as shoes and jewelry. During the fiscal year ended May 29, 1999, the Company's rental income from all of its licensed departments aggregated less than 1% of the Company's total revenues.

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Central Distribution

Central distribution, warehousing, ticketing and marking services are extended to approximately fifty-four percent of the dollar volume of the Company's merchandise through its office and warehouse/distribution facility in Burlington, New Jersey. This facility services the Company's present stores. The Company is leasing two additional warehouse facilities of approximately 85,000 square feet and approximately 160,000 square feet, respectively, nearby to its existing warehouse distribution center for the purpose of warehousing and distributing its juvenile furniture inventory and other items.

Safe Harbor Statement

Statements made in this report that are forward-looking (within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) are not historical facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Such statements include but are not limited to, proposed store openings and closings, proposed capital expenditures, projected financing requirements, proposed developmental projects, projected sales and earnings, the Company's ability to maintain selling margins, and the Company's anticipated ability to resolve Year 2000 computer problems, if any. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are the following: general economic conditions; consumer demand; consumer preferences; weather patterns; competitive factors, including pricing and promotional activities of major competitors; the availability of desirable store locations on suitable terms; the availability, selection and purchasing of attractive merchandise on favorable terms; import risks; the Company's ability to control costs and expenses; unforeseen computer related problems; any unforeseen material loss or casualty; the effect of inflation; and other factors that may be described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company does not undertake to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that any projected results expressed or implied will not be realized.

Growth and Expansion

Since 1972 when its first store was opened in Burlington, New Jersey, the Company has expanded to two hundred forty-two Burlington Coat stores, four Cohoes Fashions stores, eight Decelle stores and six stand-alone Luxury Linens stores as of July 31,

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1999. The Company also operates one stand-alone Totally 4 Kids store and one stand-alone Baby Depot.

At July 31, 1999 the Company operated stores in 42 states and is exploring expansion opportunities both within its current market areas and in other regions. For fiscal 2000, the Company plans to open approximately twenty to twenty-five additional Burlington Coat Factory stores.* The Company also has planned store expansions and remodelings for approximately twenty stores.* In addition, the Company has plans to relocate approximately five of its stores to new locations within the same trading market.* The Company continues to monitor store profitability and should economic factors change, some store closings could be possible.

The Company believes that its ability to find satisfactory locations for its stores is essential for the continued growth of its business. The opening of stores generally is contingent upon a number of factors, including the availability of desirable locations with suitable structures and the negotiation of acceptable lease terms. There can be no assurance, however, that the Company will be able to find suitable locations for new stores or that even if such locations are found and acceptable lease terms are obtained, the Company will be able to open the number of new stores presently planned. During the Fall of 1999, the Company plans to introduce an improved store design for its new stores. The new design seeks to create a more intimate customer friendly environment by implementing changes in store layout, ceiling plan, lighting, fixturing and overall color direction.*

The Company operates its own jewelry department in fifteen stores as of July 31, 1999. The jewelry program consists of karat gold and precious and semi-precious stone jewelry, and in some stores may include brand-name watches.

In fiscal 1997 the Company began to operate its own shoe department. At July 31, 1999 the Company operated this department in approximately two hundred eight Burlington Coat Factory stores. The shoe department offers a full line of mens and womens shoes in many brands and styles.

The Company offers merchandise for sale through its internet subsidiary, Burlington Coat Factory Direct Corporation, on the worldwide web. Currently, ladies coats, menswear, linens, home furnishings, children's clothing and baby and infant products are available for purchase via this web site. The Company plans to

* Forward Looking Statement. See Safe Harbor Statement on page 6.

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expand the merchandise mix offered through its web site and to upgrade its internet capabilities; however, no assurance can be given that this venture will be successful.* To date, sales generated from its internet web site have not been material.

The Company seeks to maintain its competitive position and improve its prospects by periodically reevaluating its methods of operation, including its pricing and inventory policies, the format of its stores and its ownership or leasing of stores.

Seasonality

The Company's business is seasonal, with its highest sales occurring in the months of September, October, November, December and January of each year. For the past five fiscal years, approximately 56% of the Company's net sales have occurred during the period from September through January. Weather, however, continues to be an important contributing factor to the sale of clothing in the fall, winter and spring seasons. Generally, the Company's sales are higher if the weather is cold during the fall and warm during the early spring. See "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."

Operations

Each store has a manager and one or more assistant managers, as well as department managers. The Company also employs regional and district managers to supervise overall store operating and merchandising policies. Major merchandising decisions are made, overall policies are set, and accounting and general financial functions for the Company's stores are conducted, at corporate headquarters. In addition, other operations such as real estate, store operations, loss prevention, merchandise presentation, customer service, and human resources are managed on a Company- wide basis.

Merchandise purchased by the Company is either shipped directly from manufacturers to store locations or distributed through the Company's warehousing and distribution facilities. See "Central Distribution." A computerized merchandise information system provides regular detailed reports of sales and inventory levels for each store and assists the merchandise managers and buyers in monitoring and adjusting inventory levels.

* Forward Looking Statement. See Safe Harbor Statement on page 6.

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At July 31, 1999, the Company had approximately 20,000 employees, including a large number of part-time and seasonal employees which varies throughout the year. Of the Company's employees, only those employed at one of its stores are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. The Company cannot predict whether any future attempts to unionize its employees will be successful. The Company believes that its relationship with its employees has been and remains satisfactory.

Competition

General. The retail apparel business is highly competitive. Competitors include other individual, regional, and national "off- price" retailers offering similar merchandise at comparable prices as well as individual and chain stores, some of which are regional and national department and discount store chains. At various times throughout the year traditional full-price department store chains and specialty shops offer brand name merchandise at substantial markdowns, which can result in prices approximating those offered by the Company. Some of the Company's competitors are considerably larger than the Company and have substantially greater financial and other resources.

Resale Price Maintenance. Since it is the general policy of the Company to sell at lower than the traditional full retail price, its business may be adversely affected by manufacturers who attempt to maintain the resale price of their merchandise by refusing to sell, or to grant advertising allowances, to purchasers who do not adhere to their suggested retail prices. Federal legislation and regulations have been proposed from time to time which, if enacted, would be helpful to manufacturers attempting to establish minimum prices or withhold allowances. In addition, the rules against resale price maintenance have been subject to challenge in the courts from time to time.

The Company has, on several occasions in the past, brought lawsuits against certain manufacturers and department store chains and complained to the Federal Trade Commission seeking more vigorous enforcement of existing Federal laws, as well as testified before Congress in connection with proposed legislation concerning the Federal antitrust laws.

Item 2. Properties

The Company owns the land and building for twenty-one of its stores and is a 50% partner in a partnership which owns the

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building in which one store is located. Generally, however, the Company's policy has been to lease its stores. Store leases generally provide for fixed monthly rental payments, plus the payment, in most cases, of real estate taxes and other charges with escalation clauses. In many locations, the Company's store leases contain formulas providing for the payment of additional rent based on sales.

The following table shows the years in which store leases existing at July 31, 1999 expire:

 Fiscal Years       Number of Leases         Expiring with
Ending May 30           Expiring            Renewal Options
-------------       ----------------        ---------------
2000-2001                   4                    24

2002-2003                   4                    32

2004-2005                  14                    42

2006-2007                   8                    24

2008-2009                  10                    35

Thereafter                 27                    32
                         ------                ------

          Total            67                   189
                         ======                ======

The Company owns five buildings in Burlington, New Jersey. Of these buildings, two are used by the Company as retail space. In addition, the Company owns approximately 97 acres of land in the Townships of Burlington and Florence, New Jersey on which the Company has constructed its office and warehouse/distribution facility. The Company leases two warehouse facilities of approximately 85,000 square feet and 160,000 square feet, respectively, at locations nearby to the warehouse/distribution facility. The Company leases approximately 20,000 square feet of office space in New York City.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

In late September, 1994, the Company received summons and complaint in three separate purported class action lawsuits. Each of the complaints was consolidated into a single amended complaint which sought unspecified damages and alleged a cause of action arising under certain federal securities laws for alleged material misstatements and omissions in public statements by the Company and

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five executive officers purportedly causing the market price of the Company's common stock to be artificially inflated during the period October 4, 1993 through September 23, 1994, inclusive. On February 25, 1999, the District Court entered an order granting the Company's motion to dismiss in its entirety thus dismissing plaintiff's final amended complaint without leave to replead. The time in which to appeal the District Court's decision expired on March 29, 1999. Accordingly, this matter has been finally concluded in favor of the Company and all of the individual defendants.

In the past, the Company has initiated several lawsuits in its effort to stop what it believes to be unlawful practices on the part of certain manufacturers and large retailers to control the prices at which certain items of merchandise may be sold at the Company's stores.

Item 4. Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders The Company did not submit any matter to a vote of its security holders during the fourth quarter of fiscal 1999.
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