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Century 21 is plotting a comeback in the US and NYC

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Century 21 is plotting a comeback in the US and NYC

Century 21 is stitching together a comeback bid.

The 60-year-old retailer — whose lower Manhattan flagship famously survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks, only to be shuttered last fall as the coronavirus forced the company into bankruptcy — is plotting a return to its hometown of New York City, as well as a nationwide expansion that could result in a footprint that’s bigger than before.

The iconic department store last September filed for Chapter 11, citing a legal dispute with an insurance company over its business-interruption claims. The surprise move shuttered 13 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida, and shocked generations of bargain-minded fashionistas who flocked to its locations for deep discounts on designer duds from Gucci, Prada and Balenciaga.

Now, after acquiring the company’s intellectual property for $9 million in December, the founding Gindi family is seeing opportunities amid a COVID-19 crisis that has devastated retailers and landlords alike, according to industry insiders.

“Plans for the US are very much underway as we speak,” Marc Benitez, the newly appointed president of the company, told The Post in a Monday interview. “We are looking at both bricks and mortar and an e-commerce strategy.”

Last week, Century 21 announced a deal to open its first-ever store in South Korea, hinting at a broader plan to reopen stores in the US as well.

But on Monday, Benitez — a veteran of Coach and Kenneth Cole who was tapped as president in December — said the Big Apple is a “priority” as Century 21 plans its return. Indeed, Century 21 could see itself moving to 34th Street, where Macy’s has held court for more than a 120 years, he said.

Benitez declined to elaborate on specific locations or on a timeframe for Century 21’s New York ambitions. Prime retail locations that have recently gone empty include the anchor space in the Manhattan Mall across West 34th Street from Macy’s, which was vacated in July by JCPenney.

“The goal is to have some presence in the US this year,” Benitez told The Post. “We are simply in the process of putting a strategy together that could include expanding beyond our previous bricks and mortar footprint.” 

Before Century 21 went under, Benitez said, its e-commerce business which had only been around for a few years was growing by “double-digits” and had experienced its biggest spike in growth in 2020. It was a “much needed component” to the business, he added.

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Business

AT&T execs roll their eyes as Elliott Management takes victory lap on $43B merger

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AT&T execs roll their eyes as Elliott Management takes victory lap on $43B merger

Some higher ups at AT&T aren’t too happy about billionaire Paul Singer’s hedge fund’s response to their $43 billion media merger on Monday.

“Elliott Management is taking a victory lap even though they had nothing to do with getting this deal done” one AT&T insider griped to The Post about AT&T’s plans to combine its WarnerMedia entertainment unit with media giant Discovery.

Elliott took a $3.2 billion stake in AT&T in September 2019, calling in a letter for “improved strategic focus” and “enhanced leadership.” But the hedge fund’s execs weren’t in the room when negotiations to were taking place, according to sources close to the situation.

That didn’t stop Elliott executive Jesse Cohn from tweeting about the deal on Monday in a way that rubbed some insiders the wrong way.

“@ATT has now executed on its promise to streamline operations and re-focus on its core businesses,” Cohn said in a tweet about what he called AT&T’s “transformational year.”

A source close to Elliott Management fired back by doubling down on the notion that the deal was the result of the hedge fund’s activism. “AT&T wouldn’t have completed the deal if we hadn’t put out that letter,” this person said. “There’s not even a debate that Elliott provided cover for John (Stankey) to make the necessary changes.”

Stankey took the reins from Randall Stephenson in April 2020 in what presumably was a step towards “enhanced leadership.”

Another Elliott insider, however, emphasized the now-collegial relationship between the hedge fund and AT&T. “Stankey saw things the way we did,” this person said. “This is a feel-good story.”

“It’s puzzling a statement in which Jesse (Cohn) gives credit to John (Stankey) is being considered a victory lap.”

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Goldman taps former Uber executive to lead its consumer bank

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Goldman taps former Uber executive to lead its consumer bank

Goldman Sachs has tapped a former Uber executive to lead its fledgling consumer banking division, whose retail lending arm Marcus has seen heavy turnover since its launch.

Peeyush Nahar, who at Uber had overseen teams that developed software for payments, insurance and other fintech, has joined the Wall Street giant as a partner and global head of its consumer business. He will report to Stephanie Cohen, Goldman’s global co-head of consumer and wealth management.

Earlier this year, Goldman’s former head of consumer banking Omer Ismail and one of his top deputies, David Stark, left to run a new fintech startup at Walmart. On Friday, Goldman announced it was losing another member of Marcus — chief financial officer Sherry Ann Mohan, who is leaving for JPMorgan.

Amid the flight of financiers, Goldman is trying to shore up the consumer division that launched in 2016. Over the past few months it has brought on three new executives. Brian King, a former Goldman executive who left for a brief stint at Wells Fargo, is now chief risk officer. Swati Bhatia joined from payment technology company Stripe as head of proprietary business. Robert Cochran has joined as digital product lead at the division.

Before the pandemic, Goldman set a goal of lending $20 billion and maintaining $125 billion in deposits by 2024. As of March, Marcus has $8 billion in loans and $100 billion in deposits.

Before his stint at Uber, Nahar spent 14 years at Amazon where he focused on lending and machine learning.

“Peeyush will lead the business in its next phase of growth, helping drive forward our commitment to our customers and make us the place they go to manage their finances,” Goldman said in a statement.

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World Economic Forum cancels 2021 Singapore event amid pandemic

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World Economic Forum cancels 2021 Singapore event amid pandemic

World Economic Forum organizers say they have decided to cancel their annual gathering — usually held in Davos, Switzerland each year — this year amid concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After multiple attempts to find a proper date and venue, most recently settling on hopes to hold it in Singapore in August, the forum’s organizers said in a statement Monday that it won’t go ahead with the meeting, largely citing the impact of the coronavirus.

“Regretfully, the tragic circumstances unfolding across geographies, an uncertain travel outlook, differing speeds of vaccination rollout and the uncertainty around new variants combine to make it impossible to realize a global meeting with business, government and civil society leaders from all over the world at the scale which was planned,” the forum said.

Forum founder Klaus Schwab called it a “difficult decision” … “but ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority.”

The forum’s next annual gathering will be in the first half of next year, with the final date and location to be determined, organizers said.

The elite gathering typically draws hundreds of well-known government leaders, business executives, civil society advocates and artists, actors and musicians.

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