Thursday, September 30, 2010

GNC to go public to add 4,800 stores

GNC Acquisition Holdings Inc. plans to bulk up on capital for expansion through an initial public stock offering that could raise up to $350 million for the company.

The Downtown-based health products retailer said in a securities filing on Wednesday that it wants to add at least 4,800 company-owned and franchised locations to its store base in the United States and expand internationally, including in China. . . . more

Family Dollar to ramp up new store openings

Closing the doors on fiscal 2010 and at the same time its 10th consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings growth, Family Dollar plans to ride that momentum in the new fiscal year by accelerating its new store growth and launching a renovation effort to revamp existing sites.

The company will accelerate new store openings with about 300 new units - a 50% increase over 2010 - and renovate 600 to 800 existing sites. . . . more

Regional Mall Owners Experiment With Supermarkets

The next step in the evolution of regional malls is actually a blast from the past as supermarkets—a staple in the early days of the sector—are making their return.

This month, Australian mall owner the Westfield Group announced it signed German supermarket operator Aldi to its Westfield Chicago Ridge property in Cook County, Ill. The deal is the latest in a string of Westfield leases with supermarket chains and grocers, as well as several transactions with warehouse club Costco. There are also supermarkets and warehouse clubs now operating at or near malls owned by the Macerich Co. and Taubman Centers Inc.. . . more

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

JC Penney to open 3 stores next year

J.C. Penney Co. is opening three new stores next year as part of a long-term plan to boost sales by $1 billion over five years, in part by reaching more middle-income shoppers. . . more

Bon-Ton Stores partners with Casual Male

The Bon-Ton Stores announced it will soon sell Casual Male Retail Group's big and tall men's clothing. The department store retailer will sell the clothes at its stores and through its website beginning next spring. . . more

Haverhill housing boom provides customers for growing restaurant district

Downtown merchants say the prediction is coming true. Several years ago, an urban planning expert told city officials that bringing new housing downtown would eventually stimulate an economic boom, turning the area into a "vibrant urban village." More people living in the heart of Haverhill would mean a steady supply of customers for restaurants, lounges and other businesses there.

Hundreds of new apartments and condominiums have since moved into old factories, and some downtown restaurant owners said the economic transformation is happening. Their success is luring other eateries downtown — and even allowed one restaurateur to expand in a neighboring town. . . more

ABC News Consumer Comfort Index

While the election season shifts into overdrive, consumer confidence is stalled overall – albeit revving up in one group, higher-income Americans.

The big picture remains grim: Three-quarters of the way through 2010, the ABC News Consumer Comfort Index is no better now than it was a year ago. The CCI stands at -45 on its scale of  -100 to +100 this week, matching its average this quarter; it’s been below -40 for the past 10 quarters straight, the longest such run in 24 years of weekly polling. . . . more

Revival at Chelmsford Mall

Two national retail chains are moving into the Chelmsford Mall, filling up the building for the first time in more than a decade.

PetSmart Inc., a Phoenix-based provider of pet food and supplies, and Carter's Inc., an Atlanta-based clothing store for babies and children, are scheduled to open by the end of the year, or early 2011. With the mall, located at 250 Chelmsford St., at 100 percent occupancy, town officials are hopeful it will re-energize the area.

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Kohl's Opens 21 New Stores

Kohl's Corp. is opening 21 new stores, creating almost 3,000 jobs in 15 states.

Kohl's new stores are located in Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.. . . more

Court paves way for second Raynham Walmart

All appeals by Demoulas have been exhausted

Walmart can begin the permitting process to construct a supercenter on Route 138 now that Demoulas Super Markets has exhausted its legal options, according to selectmen.

Selectmen on Tuesday read a letter from Town Counsel Marc Antine stating that an attempt by Demoulas, parent company of Market Basket on Route 138, for further appellate review relating to a Massachusetts Appeals Court decision, has been “denied.”. . . more

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Consumer confidence slumps in September

When it comes to attitudes about the economy, Americans continue to see the glass as half empty, according to the latest reading on consumer morale.

The Consumer Confidence Index fell to 48.5 in September -- its lowest level in 7 months -- and down from August's negatively revised level of 53.2, the Conference Board, a New York-based research group that compiles the index, said Tuesday.. . . more

Borders to open 25 pop-up stores for the holidays

Borders Group plans to open 25 pop-up stores for the holidays . The stores, similar to ones opened by Toys ‘R Us recently, will start opening Oct. 25 and will operate through Jan. 31, according to the Ann Arbor-based bookseller.

The stores will average 2,500-square-feet and will carry new releases, holiday-themed items, kids books, toys and eReaders.

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Barnes & Noble Investors Side With Riggio Over Burkle

Barnes & Noble Inc.’s shareholders voted to keep Chairman Leonard Riggio on the board of the company he founded, rejecting an ouster attempt by Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. to shake up the largest U.S. bookstore chain.

Riggio, the biggest shareholder, was re-elected to the nine-member board with less than 50 percent of votes cast, Yucaipa said in a statement. The slate from Yucaipa, the second- largest holder, included Burkle.. . . more

Monday, September 27, 2010

Merrimack outlet center takes its first giant step

Seven years after word spread that a massive high-end outlet center could be built here, Simon Property Group made it a reality yesterday, breaking ground on the long-awaited $100 million project.

Town officials and other community members gathered to celebrate the start of construction at the site, on Industrial Drive near exit 10 of the F.E. Everett Turnpike.. . . more

Profit potential high for expanding retailers, report says

The profit potential for retailers opening new stores reached its highest level in 18 years in the second quarter, according to a Marcus & Millichap index that compares retail sales (excluding automobiles, gasoline and nonstore items) to retail property stock and effective rents. These results, driven by a modest recovery in sales of store items and a decline in the national effective rent for the ninth consecutive quarter, indicate that store openings could represent a high-return strategy for retailers, the firm says.

Unfortunately for landlords, retailers are unlikely to be willing to expand aggressively until the economy improves more convincingly, which the firm says will probably wait until the second half of 2011.. . . more

Target to open new urban store in Seattle

Target Corp. plans to open its first store in a new, smaller format in Seattle in 2012, with plans to expand to 10 other markets in such cities as San Francisco and Baltimore in the next few years.
The new store will be about 90,000 square feet. The new urban prototype will range anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 square feet. A typical Target store ranges in size from 125,000 to 180,000 square feet.

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Developer doubts that Filene’s project will be sold

The developer of the stalled former Filene’s site in Downtown Crossing said he doubts the controversial project, which has been put up for sale, can fetch a high enough price to make a deal worthwhile.

“There’s some interest out there, but I honestly don’t think a real buyer exists,” said John Hynes, chief executive and managing partner of Boston Global Investors. “I suspect we’ll get offers from $30 (million) to $50 million, but those numbers don’t work.”. . . more

Price matters most to pharmacy customers

Pharmacists take note: Your customers want their prescription filled — with a smile.

Price matters most to customers, wherever they get their prescriptions filled, according to the study, but so does how they’re treated by busy pharmacists, how long they have to wait for their medicines and how prescription mistakes are corrected.. . . more

Westwood Station changing hands

It was touted as a town center for the 21st century, in which the whole was going to be more than just a sum of its parts — “designed for convenience and contemporary lifestyles, but with a welcoming warmth and familiarity.’’
At 4.5 million square feet, Westwood Station was pegged in 2006 as the country’s largest prospective mixed-use development, combining boutique retailers and hotels, upscale living and dining options, and optimum commercial space in a suburban transportation hub.. . . more

Zale's loss narrows, still losing ground to Kay

Jeweler Zale Corp. reported a narrower quarterly loss as margins expanded on lower costs and fewer merchandise discounts.Total sales fell 3.4 percent, to $345.0 million, while sales at stores open at least one year fell 2.1 percent.

In contrast, Zale's most direct competitor, Signet Jewelers Ltd. (Kay and Jared) reported U.S. same-store sales were up 5.9 percent in its most recent quarter.

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Syms Scopes Out Fifth Ave. Flagship

Off-price clothing retailer Syms has leased a 34,000-square-foot retail space at the Moinian Group’s 530 Fifth Ave. for what will be a new flagship location. It will be a joint store with Filene’s Basement, which the company acquired in 2009. The space on three levels was originally built for the Bank of New York. .. . . more

A Very Telling Quarter

Remember September 2008, a turbulent month for the economy as the Lehman Brothers collapse and fear of a global financial meltdown brought equity markets to their knees? It also accelerated declines in retail sales in virtually all merchandise categories, with only a handful of value-oriented or “necessity” retailers such as grocers and pharmacies able to avoid precipitous negative sales trends.

Consumers rushed to value in chains such as Wal-Mart, TJX, Costco, and BJ’s. Dollar stores were having a heyday and some even went into an expansion mode. The script business continued to drive sales at pharmacy chains such as CVS and Walgreens. . . more

Friday, September 24, 2010

Empty-Store Space In Hartford Area Equals Four Huge Malls

Retail Vacancies Jump By One Quarter, Reaching 13 Percent
In just 26 towns and cities in Greater Hartford, there is enough empty store and restaurant space to fill more than four malls the size of Buckland Hills in Manchester.

The area, stretching from Enfield south to Berlin, had 4.9 million square feet of unoccupied retail space as of June 1, a staggering 23.4 percent increase — nearly 1 million square feet — from May 2009, according to a report Wednesday from KeyPoint Partners, a commercial real estate services firm.
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Fox TV Connecticut Retail Vacancy Report

Watch this video report on Greater Hartford retail vacancy, based on the 2010 KeyPoint Report. . . more

New pitch for former Filene’s site

Reimagining Boston's stalled projectsDevelopers seek to sell for rental units, stores

Owners of the downtown site of the former Filene’s department store are putting the property up for sale, just as city officials said they will take the unprecedented step of revoking the project’s permits next week following a two-year delay in construction.

The turn of events raises the possibility of new life for the fallow property, where there are now skeletons of half-demolished buildings lining a massive crater that had been dug for the foundation of a once-planned 39-story tower.. . . more

No Illusion: Retailers Expanding Like Crazy

When the recession started in 2008, the retail sector didn't seem like it was in the best shape. Consumer spending and retailer sales dropped dramatically, and after that, major chains like Circuit City and Linens 'n Things shut down.

Many attendees at the International Council of Shopping Centers' Western Division conference  are making light of the recent announcement that the recession is over, and Blockbuster Inc. just filed for bankruptcy. But a panel of retailers presenting at the show make it seem like boom times, with many of them forecasting ambitious expansion plans.. . . more

Sears to open toy shops in 85 stores

U.S. retailer Sears Holdings Corp. plans to launch 85 toy shops in select U.S. markets next month as it looks for a bigger bite of the holiday sales pie, a senior executive said.

The move from the operator of Sears department stores and the Kmart discount chain comes as competition heats up in the toy retail arena ahead of the biggest selling season of the year.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rite Aid loss deeper than expected

Drug store operator Rite Aid Corp  posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, hurt by weak sales of seasonal items, and cut its full-year forecast, sending shares down 15 percent.

The chain said on Thursday that sales trends for core items such as beauty products and medicines improved in the just-ended second quarter, but that sales of items available during the summer months remained weak.

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Vacant Stores By Town: New Britain Is Worst, Simsbury Best

Which towns and cities have the highest vacancy rates for stores and restaurants? As expected, the worst performers tend to be the larger and lowest-income municipalities – but there are some exceptions.

Cities and towns in greater Hartford lost nearly 1 million square feet of occupied retail space between May 2009 and June 1, 2010, leaving a wide range of vacancy rates across the region. The study, released this week, was done by KeyPoint Partners in the 26 Hartford area cities and towns with at least 500,000 square feet of retail space.

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Cumberland Farms to Sell 61 C-stores

Cumberland Farms Inc. will sell 61 convenience store properties through a structured sale process to be managed by Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc.

Cumberland Farms owns the real estate at these sites, and leases them to third party tenants through triple net lease agreements, under which the tenants operate independent convenience stores and other retail businesses, according to a release by Matrix.

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Blockbuster Files for Bankruptcy After Online Rivals Gain

Blockbuster Inc., the world’s biggest movie-rental company, filed for bankruptcy after failing to adapt its storefront model to online technology pioneered by rivals such as Netflix Inc.

The company listed assets of $1.02 billion against debt of $1.46 billion on a Chapter 11 petition filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

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Sears Seeks Trendier ‘Vibe’ With Forever 21

Sears Holdings Corp., saddled with extra space in its cavernous Sears department stores, is joining with hot fashion chain Forever 21 to expand the store-within-a-store concept.

The move is among the most aggressive merchandising steps Sears has taken since hedge fund manager Edward Lampert took over the retailer five years ago.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

5 Traits of the New American Consumer

Spending habits have changed, possibly for good, which creates a challenge for retailers

It's official: Consumerism is dead, and it's been replaced with something better. We've slowed down, started prioritizing financial security over materialism, and wouldn't drive a mega-SUV or live in a McMansion if you paid us.

If these changes sound familiar, it's because they've been a hot topic since the recession began. Two new books clarify the shift with heavy-duty consumer research.

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Retail Investment Sales Volume May Be Poised to Surge

It’s been a long time coming, but investment sales specialists say deal activity in the retail sector may be poised to surge.

The market for retail properties has shown clear improvement throughout 2010. In the first eight months of 2010, investment in retail properties amounted to $22 billion, according to CoStar Group figures. In contrast, the full year figure for 2009 was $12 billion.

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CiCi's bargain pizza empire plans to add 500 stores by 2016

There's good pizza and there's great pizza, but the consensus is that there's really no such thing as a bad pizza. It's pizza.

Whether you like the pizza at CiCi's Pizza Buffet -- perhaps best known for its $5 all-you-can-eat pizza -- haven't had it, or despise everything it stands for, the chain is multiplying like rabbits. On Wednesday, the Plano, Texas-based company, formed in 1985, revealed its plans to add 500 stores over the next six years to its already existing 600 stores in 35 states.
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How Have REITs Impacted the Market Since Their Inception 50 Years Ago?

Last week celebrated the 50th anniversary of real estate investment trusts.  On September 14th, 1961, then President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation that created the new approach to income-producing real estate investment, making the asset class more accessible to a much broader range of people.  Essentially, it was a merger of real estate and stock based investment. Today, over 10% of all commercial real estate is owned by REITs.  With the expected number of REITs to explode in the coming 18-24 months, much like it did in the early 1990s, that percentage is sure to grow over the next decade. . . . more

Ruby Tuesday to open up to 200 Mexican eateries

Ruby Tuesday has inked a deal that will allow it to open and operate up to 200 fast-casual Mexican restaurants.

The Maryville-based restaurant operator signed a licensing agreement last week with LFMG International LLC for the development rights to South Florida-based Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.

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Blockbuster: Why Bricks and Clicks Don't Always Mix

Not so long ago, in 2005, Blockbuster seemed invincible. However you preferred to rent movies — in stores or online — the company was ready to accommodate you.

At the time, Netflix could offer only one way of obtaining a movie (the mail) and one way of returning it (the mail). It was clicks, with no bricks.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wal-Mart and Target look at small formats for urban push

Smaller formats are key components of both Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp.’s urban strategies, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Wal-Mart is planning a major push into urban markets with a new small format that is a fraction of the size of its supercenter format, the report said, with the expansion is expected to be detailed in October at the chain’s annual meeting with analysts.

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Great Recession ended in June 2009, but who knew?

With little fanfare, the National Bureau of Economic Research declared Monday that the so-called Great Recession is over, determining that the U.S. economy hit bottom in June 2009 and began a long, sluggish rebound.

"In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity," the bureau said in a statement Monday. "Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month."

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U.S. commercial property prices decline 3.1% in July

High unemployment and concern over slowing economic growth has hampered price appreciation for office, warehouse and retail properties. The jobless rate rose to 9.6 percent last month from 9.5 percent in July. U.S. gross domestic product will grow 1.8 percent on an annualized basis in the third quarter, according to the average forecast of 61 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

“The weak performance overall is tied to the relatively weak recovery we’re experiencing now,” said Christopher Cornell, an economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “It’s basically a demand-driven phenomenon.”

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Chiofaro to mayor: Your move

Don Chiofaro upped the ante Monday in his public showdown with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino by hosting a press conference to unveil a somewhat scaled down version of his $1 billion Aquarium Place development. The showing, which was punctuated by tower blueprints that would blast through the city’s proposed height requirement of 200 feet along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, was presented without having first been reviewed by the city or Menino.

The controversial developer made his pitch in both emotional and practical terms, juxtaposing his desire to build a massive mixed-use development “at the most important spot on the Greenway” with his prediction that the project, once complete, will result in an additional $17 million in tax revenue for the city.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Aldi to debut first interior mall store

Westfield announced Thursday that it plans to add a limited-assortment Aldi grocery store to a Chicago mall.

The new store will be the low-priced Aldi’s debut location inside a regional mall in the U.S.. . . more

Build-A-Bear to open 10 pop-up stores

Build-A-Bear Workshop said Friday it plans to open 10 temporary pop-up stores for the holiday season, starting next month.

The St. Louis-based make-your-own stuffed animal retailer also said it would look for opportunities to keep some of the stores open after Christmas. . . more

New tenant for vacant Sam's Club property in Natick?

The long vacant Sam’s Club property off Route 9 near Speen Street may have a new tenant.

A company called Project Leo, owned by Utilities and Industries Management Corp. LLC, intends to build a data center and server terminal in the 116,000 square-foot building at 1225 Worcester Road. Project Leo went before the Planning Board last month.

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DC to get its first CB2 home furnishings store

Home furnishings retailer CB2 is opening a Georgetown store next spring, its first one in the Washington region, according to Eastbanc's Marcie Connolly, who negotiated the deal for the landlord.

To be nestled in the unofficial home goods section of the neighborhood, the store will fill some 13,000 square feet at 3307 M St., across from BoConcept, Pedini DC and Contemporaria. Similar to its posh neighbors, CB2 offers contemporary designs that are a tad edgier than those of its big sister, Crate & Barrel.

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Wal-Mart and Target look at small formats for urban push

Smaller formats are key components of both Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp.’s urban strategies, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Wal-Mart is planning a major push into urban markets with a new small format that is a fraction of the size of its supercenter format, the report said, with the expansion is expected to be detailed in October at the chain’s annual meeting with analysts.

Source: Marketwatch

The Stakes in the Barnes & Noble Spat

Leonard S. Riggio, the pugnacious Barnes & Noble chairman, may be in the fight of his career, but he says he doesn’t relish it.

Just over a week before Barnes & Noble shareholders convene for their annual meeting, Mr. Riggio remains locked in battle with the billionaire investor Ronald W. Burkle over three board seats, including Mr. Riggio’s. And Barnes & Noble has begun seeking potential buyers for the entire 1,350-store chain.
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REI to enter Manhattan

Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) has signed a 15-year lease for its first Manhattan location. The 39,000-sq.-ft. store will be located downtown, in the landmark Puck Building, at 295 Lafayette St., on the corner of East Houston Street. Asking rent for the space was around $275 a square foot, Crain’s New York Business reported.

The company expects the store to open in fall of 2011.
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Simon CEO gives insights on retail's road ahead

Simon chief discusses a 'double dip,' Christmas 2010 and Web's advantage

Double-dip recession: probably not. Competition from the Internet: unfair. Lifestyle centers: Return isn't worth the investment.

David Simon had a lot to say about the world of commercial real estate in speaking to members of the Economic Club of Indiana last week at the Indiana Convention Center.

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Lord & Taylor on expansion mode

Lord & Taylor (L&T) has adopted an innovative retailing strategy to expand its operations by opening stores in different American regions with an objective to beat its industry rival Nordstrom, who has recently partnered with mobile accessory maker case-mate to offer exclusive fashion cases for the female visitors.

Taking cues from the recent development, L&T has decided to take certain strategic moves to boost its brand name, market presence and sales, of course. L&T’s novel business approach includes plans to target professional women in the 35-55 age group and introduce them to new and stylish products matching their professional needs.
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Friday, September 17, 2010

With summer results on the bright side, Pier 1 looks forward to holidays

Pier 1 Imports Inc. is upbeat entering the holiday season after reporting a second-quarter profit just above Wall Street estimates.

On Thursday, the home decor chain also said it turned summer back into a money-making period.

It was the fourth consecutive profitable quarter for the Fort Worth-based operator of 1,048 stores.

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U.S. Consumer Prices Remain Steady

Consumer prices remained mostly flat in August, according a government report released Friday, continuing the trend of an extremely low and stable inflation rate.

The Labor Department said that the Consumer Price Index, which is considered a benchmark measure of inflation, rose 0.3 percent in August, compared with 0.3 percent in July, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

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Syms combined store with Filene's Basement opens in three locations

Syms Corp., the Secaucus-based off-price retail chain, unveiled three new stores Thursday with a new look and a new name that the company is hoping will attract a new group of customers.
Syms is calling the new stores fbSY – pronounced fib-see. The stores are located in Manhattan, Westchester County and Long Island and are intended to be a blend of the best of Syms and Filene's Basement, the Massachusetts discounter that Syms acquired a year ago.. . . more

REI Will Open Store in SoHo

The downtown Manhattan neighborhood known for tourists and chain stores is, with New York City itself, becoming something of a destination for outdoor types. Or so a big West Coast retailer is betting.

Recreational Equipment Inc., an outdoor company based in Kent, Wash., announced Thursday that it would open its first New York City store in SoHo next fall, a few blocks from the New York flagship store of Eastern Mountain Sports.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wal-Mart Chief: We Are Beefing Up Assortment

Wal-Mart Stores has been candid about its mistakes in the way it pared back assortment in recent months -- and in a presentation for investors, Bill Simon, CEO of its U.S. division, shed some light on how the retailer is hoping to win back the shoppers it sent away.

While the higher-income shoppers who discovered Walmart during the recession are still roaming its aisles, "the traffic loss is in the middle and toward the lower end of the business, and that's primarily from the assortment issues," he told those attending the Goldman Sachs Seventeenth Annual Retailing Conference, noting that high gas prices are still a concern for consumers.
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Mass. unemployment falls

Marking the seventh straight month of job growth, Massachusetts added 2,100 jobs in August, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

August job growth follows a revised 15,200 jobs gain in July, which was previously reported as a 13,200 job gain.
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Colonie rejects Super Walmart plan

The Colonie Planning Board denied conceptual approval to a proposed Super Walmart, dealing a blow to plans by the world’s biggest retailer to build a new store in Latham.

The board voted unanimously against the proposed 184,000-square-foot store off Route 9 during a public meeting that stretched into the early morning hours of Sept. 15.

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Target is moving forward with more grocery departments

Target Corp. (TGT) is already seeing a comfortable return on its rollout of fresh food into stores and is planning to expand the initiative to several hundred more next year.

The PFresh concept makes the retailer more than an apparel and mass merchandise destination, by providing fresh food, and at the same time serves as an incentive to get customers to visit other parts of the store, said Target Chief Financial Officer Doug Scovanner at a Goldman Sachs retail conference.

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Agreement for Route 1 in the works

Deal would widen road, make way for Seabrook shopping mall

An agreement being drawn up could not only end Seabrook's Supreme Court lawsuit against an Ohio developer's 500,000-square-foot shopping center, but it could also result in a wider roadway along Route 1 and a five-lane Route 107 bridge over Interstate 95.

Seabrook officials have for months refused to back down on demands for wider roadways before Developer Diversified Realty is allowed to build its shopping center at the busy Route 1/107 intersection.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. struggles to survive

To some, the big concrete box in Broomall may seem like just another supermarket about to go empty.

But the soon-to-be-shuttered Pathmark near West Chester Pike is more than that. It's a small player in a big saga about a supermarket giant that once was a leader in Philadelphia and now is fighting for its life.

The Delaware County store is one of two Pathmarks and two Super Fresh stores in the Philadelphia region being shut down in the coming weeks by Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. as the publicly traded firm, under its third chief executive since February, reaches for a rescue.

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Traffic improved for restaurants in spring

After four quarters of sales declines, spending turned positive, report finds

While restaurants have yet to fully recover from the lingering sales and traffic losses of the past few years, some signs indicate that the business downturn might be easing, according to The NPD Group.

The Chicago-based market research firm found that foodservice outlets narrowed their declines in guest counts in the quarter ended in June 2010, compared with the year-earlier period. Traffic declined 1 percent in those three months, compared with a 3-percent decrease a year ago. . . . more

Bob’s Stores Keeps 50,000-SF Space

Sports apparel retailer Bob’s Stores has renewed its space of more than 50,000 square feet at Milford Plaza in Milford, CT for five years. The five-year lease accounts 28 percent of the plaza’s total 181,000-square-foot space. Owner Stonemar Properties brokered the deal.

Stonemar says in a release that the deal includes a number of tenant improvements financed in part by the landlord.

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Buca di Beppo makes Bay State debut

The Buca di Beppo chain will start serving its family-style Italian dishes to Massachusetts diners Friday when the first of four Buca restaurants opens at former Vinny T’s locations in the state.

Within a few weeks after the first one opens in Seekonk, Buca di Beppo restaurants will open in former Vinny T’s spaces in Dedham, Lexington and Shrewsbury as well.

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3G May Take a Bite of Burger King’s Real Estate to Generate Returns

Real estate could be the secret ingredient in private equity firm 3G Capital Management’s recipe for generating returns on its surprise $3.3 billion acquisition of Burger King.

Private equity firms have long opted to buy struggling retail companies and sell off real estate assets as a way to generate fast cash. In the recent real estate downturn this practice subsided as property values plummeted.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Digging in on Worcester center

Officials break ground on long-delayed CitySquare project, hope to revive city’s core

Gloomy skies could not chill the sense of triumph here yesterday, as public officials and local business leaders broke ground on the long-stalled CitySquare development project, once ballyhooed as the largest private development in Massachusetts history outside Boston.

Work begins on Worcester's CitySquare“What begins today will reshape Worcester for decades to come,’’ said Lieutenant Governor Timothy D. Murray in a speech to the crowd of hundreds of onlookers. Murray helped conceive the project, which occupies much of Worcester’s downtown core, in 2004, when he was the city’s mayor.

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Walmart introduces unlimited cellphone plan for $45 a month

Retail behemoth Walmart today announced Walmart Family Mobile, a cellphone plan offering unlimited talking and texting for $45 a month.

No contract is required. Additional lines are $25 per month. Internet access, for Web surfing, apps, or downloading ring tones, costs extra.

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Cedar buys NJ shopping center for $26.5M

Port Washington-based Cedar Shopping Centers will partner with RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust of Toronto to purchase the Cross Keys Place shopping center in Sewell, New Jersey for about $26.5 million, according to a company statement.

Just three years old, Cross Keys is a 148,000-square-foot retail center that’s 100 percent occupied. It’s anchored by a 42,000-square-foot Sports Authority, a 35,000-square-foot Bed, Bath & Beyond, a 21,000-square-foot AC Moore, a 19,000-square-foot Old Navy and a 16,000-square-foot Petco.
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Behind the Lululemon phenomenon

Lululemon wants to open about 20 to 25 new stores and 15 showrooms next year but "we're being cautious in terms of not getting ahead of our skis and trying to get up to 35 stores for next year," Day said.

Lululemon determines which cities can support a retail store by first setting up showrooms to test the market, which it has done across North America and in Asia and Australia. Day said the company employs another yoga technique — patience — when deciding which markets are prime for a full-fledged store.

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Target inches into medical clinic business

The company just announced eight new clinics, its largest expansion in three years.

Target Corp. was one of the first retailers to experiment with putting a medical clinic in its stores. But while chains such as CVS and Walgreen's expanded rapidly into so-called retail medicine, Target is still tiptoeing into the field.

"Surgical," is how spokesman Joshua Thomas described Target's growth strategy to date.

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Retail sales boosted by back-to-school shoppers

The road to economic recovery is still rocky, but American consumers are slowly starting to spend again.

Retail sales grew for the second month in a row in August, led by back-to-school shopping and a strong showing from grocery stores and gasoline stations.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Aldi opening Northeast D.C. location

A new slice of competition has come to the D.C grocery market. Discount retailer Aldi plans to open a new store directly across from the Safeway on 17th Street NE, which long has had the neighborhood to itself. The next nearest food store is almost two miles away.

The no-frills, Germany-based retailer broke ground last week on its first location in the District, adding to its roster of 21 stores in Maryland and 11 in Virginia.

. . . more