Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bigger is better for Burlington Demoulas

Customers of Demoulas Market Basket in Burlington will have something big to look forward to: A new location more than three times the size of the store’s current location on Middlesex Turnpike.

According to company officials, the new store, at the site of the former Expo Design Center at 43 Middlesex Turnpike, is expected to open by the end of the year.. . . more

Merrimack outlet mall work begins

Marking the latest major step in a six-year saga, the first signs of construction on a new outlet mall were on display Monday.

Some heavy equipment could be seen from the Industrial Drive entrance of what will be Merrimack Premium Outlets, a $100 million complex of retail and home-goods stores. . . . more

Consumers Have Changed, Have Marketers?

Maybe they're flattering themselves, but lots of Americans believe they've become more adept as consumers during the past couple of years. However, an AdweekMedia/Harris Poll finds they are less inclined to believe that brands have adjusted their marketing to keep pace with this greater savvy.

The first of a pair of questions asked the respondents whether they think they've become savvier as consumers since the economy's downturn began. . . . more

JCPenney and ALDO Team Up to Bring Shop-within-a-Shop Footwear and Accessories

J. C. Penney Company, Inc. and ALDO USA, Inc. announced today plans for JCPenney to become The ALDO Group's exclusive department store retailer in the United States for its Call It Spring brand. The ALDO Group, a leading international retailer with operations in more than 1,500 stores in over 50 countries, is world-renowned for its reputation in creating fashionable footwear and accessories.

Dramatically expanding JCPenney's modern footwear and accessory assortment, Call It Spring will launch as a unique shop-within-a-shop concept - over 600 sq. ft. shop in Women's and over 400 sq. ft. shop in Men's -- providing JCPenney customers an extensive collection of over 300 styles of on-trend footwear and accessories - all at compelling prices.. . . more

Bed Bath optimistic about the long term

Bed Bath and Beyond Inc. executives, speaking at the retailer's annual meeting, said they are optimistic about the long-term prospects for the company, despite some near-term challenges.

The Union-based company said it sees potential for another 400 Bed Bath stores in the U.S. and Canada. It plans to open 30 Bed Bath stores this year, along with 10 Christmas Tree Shops, and 20 buybuy Baby stores.. . . more

Private sector jobs gain misses expectations

Private-sector employers added jobs for a fifth straight month in June, a report released Wednesday showed, but the gain was much smaller than expected.

Automatic Data Processing, which processes paychecks for one in every six U.S. employees, said private-sector employers added 13,000 jobs to their payrolls in June, following an upwardly revised 57,000 increase in May. . . . more

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Consumer confidence drops in June on jobs worries

Consumer confidence fell steeply in June after rising for three months, due to worries about the labor market because of a recent slowdown in jobs growth, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes fell to 52.9 in June from a downwardly revised 62.7 in May.. . . more

Retailers' weekly sales rise 3%

Chain-store sales for the week ended June 26 rose 3% from the year-earlier period, according to a survey released Tuesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs.

On a week-over-week basis, sales increased 2.1%, the biggest gain since April 3. . . . more

Barnes & Noble Shares Down After Loss Widens

Barnes & Noble Inc shares fell on Tuesday in premarket trading after the U.S. bookseller reported a wider quarterly loss and forecast only modest sales growth in its stores next year.

The retailer, which is hosting its annual shareholder
meeting on Tuesday and will lay out its long-term plan to compete as book selling becomes digital, reported on Monday that sales at its stores open at least 15 months fell 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter.. . . more

10 Retailers Flirting With Trouble

Risk Analysis Portends Financial Woes at Zale, Borders, Perfumania

The recession that began nearly two years ago hit retailers hard. Among the casualties: outdoorsy outfitter Eddie Bauer, skin care specialists Crabtree & Evelyn, fast food franchise Fatburger and photo experts Ritz Camera were among the chains that have reorganized or liquidated since 2008.

The early post-crash boom in corporate busts has subsided, but with U.S. economic growth lackluster and unemployment hovering near 10%, the retailer sector continues to face an uncertain future.. . . more

Eastern Bank agrees to buy Wainwright Bank

Eastern Bank Corp. said today it has agreed to acquire Wainwright Bank & Trust Co. in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $163 million.

"The combined organization will have more than 90 retail banking offices serving people and businesses across Eastern Massachusetts, including 22 offices in the Boston metro area," Eastern Bank said in a press release.. . . more

Monday, June 28, 2010

Study Finds U.S. Still in 'Trade Down' Mode

Americans are continuing to trade down in greater numbers in the wake of the economic downturn, even as consumers in other developed markets begin to lose their taste for bargain hunting.

These are among the findings of a study released today, called “A New World Order of Consumption,” by The Boston Consulting Group. . . . more

Target beefs up its food aisles

Groceries are in, gardening out at Target.

The Minneapolis-based discounter known for trendy clothes and stylish home d├ęcor now is now beefing up its stores' supermarket aisles. Target is adding meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, and packaged baked goods such as pies.

Target says it's feeding the demands of its customers, who want increased convenience.. . . more

Francesca’s Frills Spur Growth as Retailer Mulls IPO

Francesca’s Collections Inc. has won over women in their 20s by tweaking current trends, selling clothes adorned with beads, lace and ruffles. That devotion may help take the chain public as soon as next year.

Proceeds from an initial public offering could allow Francesca’s to more than double its boutiques to 500 in the next five years. . . . more

No Easy Sell Seen for Back-to-School Merchandise

Several top executives participating in Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit here last week said they expect the upcoming back-to-school selling season to remain tough.

Their enthusiasm for what is considered the second-biggest sales period of the year is dampened by a sluggish economic rebound; consumers' reluctance to open their purses; and continued shopper demand for deep discounts, Reuters said in a news report. . . . more

Expect a Boring Holiday Season

Don't expect to much excitement this holiday season. That was the message of speakers at a recent consumer conference hosted by Reuters.

But that might not be such a bad thing. "It's going to be the most boring holiday season we've had in quite some time," said Janet Hoffman, a managing director at Accenture, pointing out that stores will likely see a small gain in sales, which is much better than the dive in revenues posted by retailers in 2008.. . . more

Mobile coupons help retailers track customers

Last month, Tara Kuczykowski walked into a Target store in Columbus, Ohio, pulled out her mobile phone and handed it to the cashier.

The cashier scanned the digital coupon on the phone's tiny screen, and Kuczykowski got $1 off sandwich-size Ziploc bags. Target got something, too: another entry in its database about her. . . . more

Destintion Maternity To Be Exclusive Provider For Macy's

Destination Maternity Corp. (DEST) announced it will become the exclusive provider of maternity and nursing apparel at namesake locations of Macy's Inc. (M), deepening ties between the two.

Destination Maternity, owner of the Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod brands, has had ties with Macy's for nearly 20 years and currently operates maternity sections in 113 stores. That will surge to having leased space in more thn 615 Macy's by the end of February. . . . more

Consumer Spending, Incomes Edged Up Last Month

Americans remain reluctant to open their wallets

Consumer spending rose slightly in May, as Americans remain reluctant to open their wallets amid a slow economic recovery.

The Commerce Department said Monday that consumer spending rose 0.2 percent last month, an improvement from April's reading of no change. . . . more

Friday, June 25, 2010

Starbucks shop tries wine, 'coffee theater'

As experiments go, this one isn't flashy.

But the success — or failure — of one Starbucks cafe on the edge of a trendy Seattle neighborhood could ripple through the nation's coffee house industry.

Because where Starbucks goes, others follow.. . . more

Kroger considering 'selective' acquisitions

The nation's largest grocer, Kroger Co., is interested in getting bigger - but not in buying struggling competitors, CEO David Dillon said Thursday.

Dillon said the company sees "plenty of growth opportunities" and has been considering acquisitions. But it is steering away from businesses that are marked down because they fell behind as the recession battered industry profits.. . . more

Chico's investors show off 'fast, dramatic turnaround'

Shareholders' meeting reaffirms leaders' strategy

Chico's FAS is positioned to push for record profits, and employees - from top executives to the store associates - share the goal of making it happen, Chief Executive Officer David Dyer said Thursday.

"In my 35 years in retailing,
I've never experienced such a fast and dramatic turnaround," Dyer said. "I believe the growth story for Chico's FAS is far from complete.". . . more

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Retail M&A and IPOs stall, investors balk

Retail sales may have recovered nicely in the past year, but a resurgence in acquisitions and IPO activity may have to wait until next year due to tougher financing and market volatility.

The number of U.S. retail deals has totaled 113 so far this year, down slightly from 120 deals in the same period a year ago, according to data from Thomson Reuters.. . . more

Bed, Bath & Beyond Q1 income up 58%

Bed Bath & Beyond reported a sharply higher fiscal-first-quarter profit on double-digit sales growth and higher margins. The results topped Wall Street expectations, but the chain forecast earnings in the current quarter below analysts' estimates.

Bed Bath & Beyond said Wednesday its fiscal first-quarter net income jumped 58%, to $137.6 million. Revenue increased 13% to $1.92 billion, and said same-store sales rose by 8.4% during the quarter.. . . Source: Chain Store Age

Rite Aid's new CEO takes over and hears an earful

It's official: John T. Standley took over as president and CEO of East Pennsboro Twp.’s Rite Aid following a two-hour annual shareholders’ meeting at the Harrisburg Hilton today. Standley has a difficult job ahead of him as union employees from California and Pennsylvania gathered outside the Hilton to protest the company’s relationship with employees.

Inside the Hilton, angry shareholders took management, including outgoing CEO Mary Sammons, to task for more than two hours for the company’s performance during the last several years. Sammons will remain as the company’s chairman of the board for the next two years.. . . more

Can Sears Compete With Netflix?

The retailer isselling and leasing excess real estate online. It's offering house repairs online. It set up an online "marketplace" that is similar to Amazon.com.

Now it looks like Sears wants to compete with Netflix and similar services by launching a site that sells downloads of movies and television shows.. . . more

Somersworth, NH CVS construction ahead of schedule

Despite frozen ground that pushed back concrete pouring in February, construction on the new CVS pharmacy at the intersection of intersection of High Street and Indigo Hill Road is set to finish about a month ahead of schedule.

New England Retail Construction Corporation will turn over the property to CVS franchise's management staff on July 5, at which point display and merchandise setup can begin. The store is scheduled to open in October. . . . more

Property Prices Take Another Bounce

During Q1 2010, the four major property sectors nationally showed mixed results. While multifamily prices across the US rose 3.3% over the prior quarter and industrial prices edged up 0.8%, the index for office was down 3.2%. The retail index fared even worse, dropping 4.7% in three months.

A different story is told by the regional indices, which are measured on an annual basis. In the East, retail was the only sector not to suffer a year-over-year decline, instead rising by 4.6%. Office prices, on the other hand, have dropped 24.7% across the region since April 2009.. . . more

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One more worry for banks: Wal-Mart

America's biggest banks are in retreat, tightening lending, increasing fees, and closing branches. But one company still wants to become your neighborhood bank: Wal-Mart.

While the banking sector has been in turmoil, Wal-Mart has aggressively courted customers' pocketbooks, partnering with financial services companies to offer money transfers, check cashing and bill payments, and putting virtual checking accounts -- refillable pre-paid debit cards -- in the hands of more than two million customers.. . . more

Home Depot on path to recovery with three-pronged initiative

The Home Depot discussed the details of its three-pronged strategy to boost business this year and onward during its presentation today at the Jefferies Consumer Confidence conference.

Marvin Ellison, evp, U.S. stores, explained that Home Depot views 2010 as a transitional year, as reflected by the home improvement chain's positive first quarter results. . . . more

Michigan-based Zoup! ladles out growth plans

After 12 years of success in Metro Detroit and the Midwest, Zoup! is heading west -- and farther east -- with its menu of more than 100 soups.

The Southfield, MI-based chain of restaurants plans to add to its 25 franchises by opening 10 more locations by the end of the year and quadrupling its reach to 100 stores by 2014. . . . more

Rite Aid trims 1Q loss by reducing selling costs

Drugstore operator Rite Aid Corp. says it reduced its losses in the fiscal first quarter as it cut back on selling, general and administrative costs.

The Camp Hill, Pa., chain says it lost $73.7 million in the quarter ended May 29. That compares with $98.4 million a year ago. Revenue fell 2 percent to $6.39 billion from $6.53 billion as the company closed stores and dealt with a weak economy.. . . more

Walgreen posts lower net income in third quarter

Walgreen Co., the biggest U.S. drugstore chain, said Tuesday that its profit sank 11 percent in the third quarter because of higher costs related to the nation’s health-care rules and its $623 million buyout of rival Duane Reade.

Those costs, CEO Greg Wasson said, converged with a weak economy, lower reimbursement rates and fewer new low-cost generic drugs.. . . more

Sears to offer movies via Net

Sears Holdings Corp., owner of the Sears and Kmart retail chains, will start an online store to compete with Apple Inc. and Best Buy Co. in selling downloads of movies and TV shows as Web-connected devices become more common.

The digital store will use an online service and technology operated by Sonic Solutions Inc., the companies said Tuesday in a statement. Sonic’s RoxioNow system will be installed on televisions, computers, Blu-ray disc players, set-top boxes and mobile phones sold by the biggest U.S. department store chain.. . . more

Investors Frustrated by Lack of Deals

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Korpacz Real Estate Investor Survey for the second quarter of 2010 finds that investors are looking for opportunities to buy but are largely frustrated by the lack of quality assets hitting the market.

According to the report, “While a lack of quality offerings is partly to blame for the serene sales activity to date, mixed signals and fluctuating opinions on the near-term performance of the U.S. economy, the banking industry, and the commercial real estate industry are also at fault.”. . . more

As Demand for Space Increases, Retailers Ask for Fewer Handouts

As the retail sector shows increasing signs of stability, the flood of concession requests that marked much of 2009, seems to have subsided.

“I can tell you that requests for rent relief have dropped off a cliff,” says John Bemis, executive vice president and director of leasing with Jones Lang LaSalle Retail, an Atlanta-based third party property manager.. . . more

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cap Rates Trend Downward

“The unknown speed and strength of the recovery have many in the industry anxious,” comments an investor in the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Korpacz Real Estate Investor Survey. Combine that with a relative dearth of institutional-grade assets on the market, and the result is what the report calls “calm” deal flow.

However, a majority of commercial real estate investors see light on the horizon in the form of shrinking cap rates. Average cap rates declined in 17 of the survey’s 30 markets over the past quarter.. . . more

Simon Property Group sets eye on expanding outlet malls

After Simon Property Group gave up trying to buy its biggest mall-owning rival, attention shifted to its $2.3 billion purchase of Prime Retail Outlets.

The owner of Tyrone and Gulf View Square malls, Simon will land the teeming Prime Outlets Ellenton and Orlando in a deal sealing control of 77 of the nation's 217 outlet mall properties.

Antitrust regulators are still combing the deal struck seven months ago, but likely not with the same zeal as when Simon had a second offer out to grab General Growth Properties Inc., too. . . . more

Target Bets Credit Discount Will Lead to More Visits

Target Corp.'s credit-card portfolio hurt its performance in the recession, as delinquencies and defaults soared.

Now, the discounter sees credit cards as an important way to spur sales as the country slowly climbs out of the economic doldrums.

This fall, customers using Target-branded credit cards will a get 5% discount on every purchase at its stores. Gauging by
the results of an eight-month test Target recently concluded in Kansas City, the company expects the program to drive a 1% to 2% nationwide increase in sales at stores open at least a year by luring shoppers to its stores more frequently to take advantage of the savings.. . . more

Burlington Coat Factory sees strong first quarter

Burlington Coat Factory reported that it experienced a 3.3% increase in comparative-store sales during the first quarter ended May 1. Net sales for the first quarter were $894.7 million compared with $830 million for the comparative period ended May 2, 2009, a 7.8% increase. Net income amounted to $5.2 million for the first quarter ended May 1 compared with a net loss of $36.9 million for the comparative period ended May 2, 2009.. . . more

E-book reader price war erupts

Barnes & Noble Inc. ignited a price war this morning on e-book reader hardware. It dropped the price for its Nook 3G—which enables Internet connections via 3G and Wi-Fi networks—to $199, and introduced Nook Wi-Fi—which does not include high-speed 3G connectivity—priced at $149. The two readers are the same in every way except for the differing types of wireless network connectivity.

Further, Barnes & Noble, No. 42 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is now offering all Nook customers free access to AT&T’s nationwide Wi-Fi network. Previously, Barnes & Noble provided Nook users free Wi-Fi access at its bookstores.. . . more

Whole Foods' asset sales cleared for Wild Oats

The Federal Trade Commission has cleared the sale of some Whole Foods Market assets that the grocer had agreed to sell after its 2007 acquisition of Wild Oats, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

After Whole Foods purchased Boulder, Colo.-based rival Wild Oats, the FTC agreed to drop its fight to undo the deal if Whole Foods sold off 32 Wild Oats stores and its brand.. . . more

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tiffany: On track to open 16 new stores in 2010

Tiffany & Co. said Thursday that it will open 16 new locations in 2010, reiterating expansion plans unveiled earlier.

Tiffany CFO Jim Fernandez told attendees of a Deutsche Bank consumer conference in Paris Thursday that while the luxury retailer reduced capital spending last year, it plans for capital outlays of 6% to 7% of sales this year.. . . more

Nordstrom to open two new Rack locations

Nordstrom said Friday it will open two new off-price Nordstrom Rack stores.
One will open at Annapolis Harbour Center in Annapolis, Md. The 32,230-sq.-ft. store is expected to open in spring 2011. The second will open at Westfield West Covina mall in West Covina, Calif. The 36,500-sq.-ft. store is set to open in fall 2011.. . more

Friday, June 18, 2010

Developers seek upper hand in race for casino project

As state lawmakers weigh legalization of casinos, a developer yesterday outlined plans for a massive gambling hall in Milford, a $600 million resort-style complex with up to 3,000 slot machines, five restaurants, and a 300-room hotel.. . . more

Furniture company Arhaus to open third store

Arhaus Furniture is opening its third store in Maryland before the end of the year.
The new store will open at the newly developed shopping center North Bethesda Market, which is located across the street from White Flint Mall in Rockville. . . . more

Private equity firm to revitalize Swoozie’s

Private equity firm Gart Capital Partners said Friday it has purchased the remaining assets of Atlanta-based stationery and gift retailer Swoozie’s for an undisclosed price. . . . more

Thursday, June 17, 2010

JoS. A. Bank Clothiers On Track to Open 30 to 40 New Stores This Year

JoS. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. announces that by Father’s Day (June 20, 2010) it will have opened 12 new stores (11 Full-line and 1 Franchise) to date in fiscal year 2010. The Company is on track to open a total of 30 to 40 new stores in fiscal year 2010.

“We are pleased with the progress we have made to date with our store expansion program,”commented R. Neal Black, President and CEO of JoS. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. “We are pleased with the progress we have made to date with our store expansion program,” commented R. Neal Black, President and CEO of JoS. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. . . . more

Taking stock of TJX

The retail business is not the first place I would go to look for companies that grow and prosper in tough economic times.

But the success of the TJX Cos. over the past two and a half years is hard to miss. Sales grew and profits expanded at the Framingham company that owns T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, among other retail businesses. . . . more

Limited Brands to sell last of original chain

Columbus-based Limited Brands will finally shed its remaining ties to the store franchise it arose from, agreeing to sell its 25percent stake in The Limited to the retailer's majority owner.

The sale to the private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners for about $32 million is expected to be announced as soon as today.. . . more

Pier 1 sees first 1Q operating income in 6 years and posts surprise profit

Home decor retailer Pier 1 Imports Inc. said Thursday its first-quarter net income dropped nearly 74 percent compared to last year, when results were boosted by repurchase of debt and money from a lawsuit.

But Wall Street expected a loss and it was the first time in six years the company reported operating income during the first quarter of the year.. . . more

Barneys' $60M loss

Barneys New York is bracing for a red Christmas.

The swanky retail chain expects to lose more than $60 million this year -- including a multimillion-dollar loss during the crucial holiday season, according to a source briefed on the company's internal financial plans.

Despite a recent upswing in demand for luxury goods like Gucci handbags and Brioni suits, Barneys is still grappling with a $500 million debt load that's eating away its profits. . . . more

Consumer Prices in U.S. Fell 0.2% in May, Core Rate Rose 0.1%

The cost of living in the U.S. dropped in May for a second month, signaling the world’s largest economy is recovering without causing prices to flare.

Retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are cutting prices to bolster sales as customers face almost 10 percent unemployment and rising foreclosures. The lack of inflation gives Federal Reserve policy makers scope to leave the benchmark interest rate near zero in coming months and help invigorate the economy.. . . more

Impact of CRE Distress Varies Widely Market to Market

Not All Markets Are Being Hit Equally Hard, But Resulting Impact On Business Still Acute

While the amount of CMBS loans falling delinquent and/or defaulting continues to escalate, doubling almost every six months, the damage inflicted on property values and deal volumes varies widely across local cities. Some metro areas are being ravaged while others are being spared, according to an exclusive analysis of local distress compiled for CoStar Group. . . . more

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Board approves BJ's store plans

Developers of the proposed BJ’s Wholesale Club on Hubbard Avenue in Pittsfield, MA have cleared a major regulatory hurdle toward opening next spring.

The city’s Community Development Board on Tuesday night unanimously approved two special permits allowing Pittsfield-Hubbard LLC of Plymouth to construct an 88,188-square-foot building on a vacant lot behind the Berkshire Crossing Shopping Center.

Pittsfield-Hubbard is jointly developing the parcel with Saxon Partners LLC of Middleborough and Cape Breton Corp. of Braintree. . . . more

Retail Pipeline Remains Dormant

Optimism is returning to the retail real estate sector, especially with increased willingness on the part of retailers to talk about expansion plans and leasing activity on the rise. As a result, the national vacancy rate seems to be peaking. In addition, retail sales were strong during much of the first half of the year, although results have softened of late. Yet one part of the business remains moribund: Development.

Research from Colliers International (along with data from ICSC) shows that no large shopping centers will open in 2010—the first time that’s happened in the industry. . . . more

Best Buy to Start Trade-Ins of Used Video Games in U.S. Stores

Best Buy Co., the world’s largest consumer-electronics retailer, plans to let customers trade in their used video games at more than 1,000 U.S. stores to grab sales from competitors.

Shoppers will be able to exchange the games for Best Buy gift cards that can be spent on any merchandise, Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager of Best Buy’s home entertainment group, said yesterday by telephone. The program will start late in the summer, he said, declining to specify a month.. . . more

Williams-Sonoma sees permanent change in consumer behavior

Williams-Sonoma Inc. believes the recession has recalibrated consumer attitudes about how they shop, and the company is repositioning the pricing of key merchandise categories and items.

"Above all, we believe the consumer's focus on price and value will endure long after the economy begins to recover," evp and chief marketing officer Pat Connolly told attendees at the William Blair 30th Annual Growth Stock Conference here this morning.. . . more

In Distressed Buys, Look Before You Leap

Bruce Stern, principal of Red River Asset Management, has four rules that he believes any real estate transaction must follow: don’t lose money, don’t lose money, don’t lose money and make money. Since a fair number of deals at the market’s peak failed to adhere to those watchwords, there’s enough interest in distressed assets to drive multiple conferences and panel discussions, including the one in which Stern participated Tuesday.

What there hasn’t been thus far in the cycle is a plenitude of transactions. Some that have occurred, Stern said, have been driven by funds with money to burn that bought too early and paid “stupid prices” as a result.. . . more

Simon, investors put Atrium Mall up for sale

The Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill is up for sale.

The mall’s three owners - Simon Property Group, a New York investment fund and another investor - have hired Boston’s Eastdil Secured to market the 206,000-square-foot property, a source familiar with the situation told the Herald today.

Eastdil also has been hired to sell the New York investment fund’s non-controlling interest in 12 other Simon malls, including 11 in New England.. . . more

Atrium Mall, sister properties for sale

The Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill is up for sale, along with stakes in about a dozen other shopping centers in New England run by Simon Property Group, according to people briefed on the matter. The assets include partial interests in properties such as Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers, Emerald Square Mall in North Attleborough, and the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester.

The stakes are being sold off by J.P. Morgan, which secured partial ownership as part of a $1.75 billion deal with Simon in 1999 to acquire 14 malls from local developer Stephen R. Karp’s New England Development Co.. . . more