Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

Like many obsessive collectors, Suzanne Nobles spends countless hours online scouring for treasures. The 25-year-old Arizona-based blogger isn't tracking down rare antiques or priceless baseball cards, though. No, she's on the lookout for lululemon products. One recent score — a pair of gray and split-pea green running shorts — cost her $95. While they initially retailed for $54, the shorts instantly sold out on lululemon's website and in stores, so paying nearly double was Nobles’ only shot at adding them to her collection.

It may seem like summer just got here, but for the nation's largest retailers, the fierce fight for back-to-school (BTS) bucks is already on. J.C. Penney has announced a new marketing campaign aimed at sparking self-expression in teenagers’ wardrobes. Macy's, too, is beating the drum for its apparel, including a fashion link with Teen Vogue. And Sears has just announced its new Seventeen magazine clothing line, rolling out in stores and online. 

Sport Chalet is being acquired by a company that owns Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob's Stores. Sport Chalet, with 50 stores in the U.S. western states of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, announced it was looking for potential partnerships and/or investors last year as the retailer set to expand its technological strategies. Under the agreement, Sport Chalet will keep its stores open and keep its name. Sport Chalet CEO Craig Levra will continue to manage the business out of Los Angeles, the companies said.

Bedding retailer Mattress Firm has agreed to acquire Mattress Liquidators Inc., which operates stores under the Mattress King name in Colorado and the BedMart name in Arizona. The $35 million purchase will add about 75 stores to Mattress Firm’s stable of company-owned stores, and will boost the retailer’s presence in the key markets of Denver, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.

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