Retail industry rife with buyouts

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What with Federated buying May department stores and K-mart buying Sears, the retailing industry is seeing a record number of high-profile buyouts. Chain stores are selling for prices that would have been considered exorbitant a few years ago. Fueled by billions of dollars of private equity and venture capital that must be spent or returned to investors, plus low interest rates that are inexorably moving higher, sellers are feeling there may never be a better time to get out of the fundamentally risky business of retailing, which is based largely on the whims of fashion. more [NYT]