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The News-Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, Ill., business briefs column [The News-Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, Ill. :: ]
[January 23, 2014]

The News-Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, Ill., business briefs column [The News-Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, Ill. :: ]

(News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana, IL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 23--Easton-Bell hit by hackers VAN NUYS, Calif. _ Easton-Bell Sports is among the most recent companies to have reported the theft of customer information from computer servers.

The company, which has a major production and distribution center in Rantoul, said this week that malicious software may have allowed outsiders to gain information on customers who made online purchases during December.

"This may have included personal information, such as name, address, telephone number, email and credit-card number, along with the three- or four-digit credit-card security code on the card provided," the company said in a statement on its website.

Anyone with questions about the security breach can call the company, 866-892-6059, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST.

Easton-Bell Sports makes sporting goods under the Easton, Bell, Riddell, Giro and Blackburn brands.

The company said it has shut down affected servers and plans to clean and rebuild them. The business has also hired a computer forensic specialist to investigate.

Easton-Bell Sports issued a letter to customers apologizing for the matter. The letter encouraged them to check account statements and report any instances of identity theft to law enforcement, their state's attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission.

___ Mattoon Sears store set to close in April MATTOON _ Fresh from closing its store at Champaign's Market Place Mall, Sears confirmed this week it will close its store at Mattoon's Cross County Mall in late April.

The store, which employs 43 people mostly on a part-time/hourly basis, will begin a liquidation sale Feb. 7, said Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings.

"The store is being closed because the lease was not renewed," Riefs stated in an email.

A call seeking comment from Cross County Mall management was not immediately returned. Sears occupies about 74,000 square feet at the mall, which has Carson's and JCPenney as its other anchor stores.

Riefs said Sears is closing stores to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust its asset base and speed the transformation of its business model.

"Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores," he added.

___ Dots files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy GLENWILLOW, Ohio _ Dots, a women's fashion chain with a store in Champaign, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, seeking to reorganize its debts.

The parent company, Dots LLC, which has 400 stores primarily in the Midwest, East and Southeast, said it plans to close more than 30 under-performing stores soon "and will be evaluating whether to shed additional lease contracts ... over the next few months." The Dots store in Champaign is located at 2032 N. Prospect Ave., C.

Dots, which has been in business for 25 years, targets women in the 25- to 35-year-old demographic.

"We are in the process of turning the business around, and the filing is another step toward doing that," CEO Lisa Rhodes said in a release.

Dots has gotten a commitment for $36 million in debtor-in-posession financing from Salus Capital.

"It is anticipated that employees will be paid in the normal manner, and health and welfare benefit plans will continue," the corporate release stated.

___ (c)2014 The News-Gazette (Champaign, Ill.) Visit The News-Gazette (Champaign, Ill.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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