Friday, September 30, 2011

Blackstone’s Purchase of Equity One Portfolio Signals Confidence in Retail Assets

The Blackstone Group L.P.’s acquisition of 36 shopping centers from Equity One Inc. should spell good news for retail property owners. The deal means that Blackstone, a private equity firm that has developed a stellar reputation for savvy investment plays, believes that valuations in the retail sector are destined to rise, according to David J. Lynn, managing director with Clarion Partners. . . more

Retailers Discover Useful In-Store Apps Keep Shoppers from Escaping

Major brick-and-mortar retailers are fighting mobile apps that push consumers online, enhancing their own mobile apps with in-store assistance.

The problem, according to a panel at the GigaOM Mobilize conference in San Francisco, is that brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy, Target and others risk becoming physical showcases for goods later purchased online. RedLaser, ShopSavvy, Google Shopper, and others encourage shoppers to enter a store, examine a potential purchase like a TV, compare it with others - then search for a better price online. . . more

Retailers in for sales treat this Halloween, survey says

Despite the gloomy economy, consumers are eager to have a “frightfully good time” this Halloween as a record 161 million people plan to celebrate the ghoulish holiday, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. . . more

Kohl’s celebrates opening 30 stores; remodeling 100 locations

Kohl’s Department Stores on Wednesday marked the grand opening of 30 stores across 20 states. The company announced it also is remodeling approximately 100 stores this year, an 18% increase from 2010. . . more

Chipotle founder tries new Asian format with ShopHouse in D.C.

Suppose Chipotle took its wildly popular Mexican concept and gave it an Asian twist.

You can stop supposing — and start waiting in line.

The lunch-hour line to enter the newly opened ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen curves out the door, around the corner and down the block on a recent Monday here in the nation's capital, where the eclectic-but-electric restaurant is attracting far more buzz than any political candidate.. . . more

Thursday, September 29, 2011

T-Mobile USA to roll out new design for 400 U.S. stores

T-Mobile USA announced Thursday the rollout of a new global design for nearly 400 new and remodeled stores across the country. The move follows successful test pilots in Tukwila, Wash., and in New York City at Seventh Ave. and 48th St.,

T-Mobile said it adopted the new design format from its parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG, which has received positive customer feedback for this new design in retail stores across Europe. . . . more

Humans Are Stealing Robot Jobs At the Supermarket

Are humans poised to reclaim their jobs from robots at the supermarket? Maybe so. Another supermarket chain is ending self-checkout lanes in favor of more cashiers. This time it’s the Big Y chain, which is eliminating self-checkout in all of its 61 stores because of an internal study that showed that they caused more delays and customers were less satisfied with them than checkout lanes run by lowly humans.

This announcement comes on the heels of major grocery chain Albertson’s announcement in July that it was eliminating self-checkouts in about a third of their stores.. . . more

‘Extreme Couponing’ Shoppers Pose Loyalty Test for Stores

Extreme couponing, a consumer trend spurred on by the reality TV series of the same name, may make deal-chasing U.S. shoppers less loyal to retailers from Kroger Co. (KR) to Staples Inc. (SPLS)

In the first half of this year, U.S. consumers redeemed 1.75 billion coupons for a savings of $2 billion, according to NCH Marketing Services. That’s an 18 percent increase from the same period in 2009, when packaged goods companies began stepping up discounts to spur demand, the Deerfield, Illinois- based firm said. . . . more

Family Dollar set for 2012 expansion

Family Dollar said Wednesday that sales and profits are up over last year, and announced plans to open as many as 500 new stores over the next 12 months as the retailer pursues an aggressive expansion plan.

The company also offered a rosy outlook for next year amid continuing economic anxiety, saying it expects sales to increase 8 to 10 percent as struggling consumers look for bargains.. . . more

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Best Buy's hiring fewer holiday workers

Best Buy announced Wednesday that it's only a fraction of the holiday workers that it took on last year.

Electronics retailer Best Buy said it will add 15,000 seasonal "associates" ahead of the holidays.That's compared to last year, when Best Buy announced the hiring of 29,000 seasonal employees, a tally that had remained more or less constant for several years.. . . more

Filling the Void Left by Borders

It is tempting to view the demise of the Borders Group as a dark cloud over the future of bookselling, and certainly the disappearance of hundreds of bookstores leaves a lot of vacancies where readers once browsed the aisles.

In July, the company made plans to liquidate after 40 years in operation and will close nearly 400 remaining stores by this fall. Yet in a few choice locations those spaces have been replaced by other booksellers, including Books-A-Million, the Hudson Group and a university bookstore. In other communities, the loss of a Borders may open up the retail landscape for independent or niche booksellers. . . . more

Restoration Hardware signs lease for old LouisBoston space near Newbury Street

Restoration Hardware, a California chain that sells luxury furniture and home decor, said it has signed a lease for the historic building at 234 Berkeley St. in Boston, once home to the swank LouisBoston clothing store.
Restoration Hardware has yet to announce when it will open its store.

The site is located between Boylston and Newbury streets. Last year, LouisBoston relocated to new space on the South Boston Waterfront. The new location is near the Institute of Contemporary Art. . . . more

Silver City Galleria mall sale hits rocks, foreclosure expected

Negotiations to sell the Silver City Galleria Mall in Taunton have fallen apart, a situation that appears to have put the massive shopping center and its $123 million mortgage balance on the foreclosure fast track.

The development was recently detailed in a research report by US Bank, which said efforts to unload the troubled property to an unidentified borrower “failed to result in a satisfactory recovery.” The deal, which was to include a split A/B loan structure as well as additional equity from the buyer in question, had been months in the works.. . . more

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New business breathe live into Haverhill, MA

One by one, new businesses are moving into formerly empty storefronts along the western side of Emerson Street. Many of the "for rent" signs that populated a string of storefront windows have been replaced by colorful goods being offered by stores such as D'Town Essentials, a women's apparel and accessories shop at 14 Emerson St., and Re-fab Finds and Designs, a home goods store that opens Saturday at 10 Emerson St. . . more

Capital Buzz: Washington is about to get a caffeine rush

In five years, Washingtonians won’t be able to make it from the front door to the office elevator without bumping into a Dunkin’ Donuts for a caffeine fix. The doughnut company, which went public earlier this year and is owned in part by the Carlyle Group, has begun a 60-store expansion in the Washington market in a push to grab some of the caffeine crowd from rivals such as Starbucks and McDonald’s. . . more

Megamall flourishing in a weak economy

America may be struggling, but the Mall of America is doing just fine.

Actually, better than just fine. Despite a weak economy, high unemployment and waning consumer confidence, the mall is thriving, thanks to its Nickelodeon theme park and the purchasing power of upper-income shoppers flocking to stores like Nordstrom and Michael Kors.

Sales at Mall of America retailers through August are up 9.4 percent compared to the same point in 2010. Traffic is up 5 percent. By contrast, comparable retail properties posted an average 3.3 percent sales gain in the same period, according to data from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). . . more

Fast-Casual Burger Joints Snag a Seat at the Table

The hamburger category may be dominated by the big three -- McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's -- but smaller chains such as Five Guys, and even smaller chains like Smashburger and The Counter, have bright-looking futures.

Most of the biggest burger chains have spent their recent efforts advertising items that broaden the menu and customer base. That lack of focus on burgers, as well as the boom in fast-casual restaurants, has left an opening for small and medium-size fast-casual chains with burger-focused menus to swoop in and take advantage. . . more

Rite Aid on track for 300 remodels

Rite Aid has started the rollout of its new wellness store format, with 40 stores completed as of the end of the second quarter (Aug. 27, 2011). It expects to complete a total of some 300 wellness remodels in its current fiscal year, management said during a conference call with investors.

“Our new wellness format is all about empowering our customers in their pursuit of wellness,” Rite Aid president and CEO John Standley said during the call. “Customers are telling us they like the look and feel of these stores, which offer expanded clinical pharmacy services, new health and wellness product offerings and our unique on-site Wellness Ambassadors who serve as a bridge from the front end of the store to the pharmacy.”. . . more

Consumer Confidence Index rises marginally

Consumer confidence continues to plod along in the mid-forties.

Data released Tuesday morning by the New York City-based Conference Board showed the Consumer Confidence Index for the month of September at 45.4, up slightly from an upwardly revised 45.2 reading in August.

A year ago, the index was at 48.6. It rose to above 70 in February of this year, but has since slipped back into the forties for two consecutive months.. . . more

Penn National gaming company considers former Westinghouse property in East Springfield as possible site for casino

A gaming company based in Pennsylvania is considering the former Westinghouse property on Page Boulevard as a potential site for a proposed casino.

Penn National Gaming has had initial discussions with the property owner, city officials and representatives of the East Springfield Neighborhood Council, according to local officials. . . . more

Toys "R" Us repackaging 12-year-old purchase, Imaginarium

Toys "R" Us believes a purchase it made 12 years ago will pay off big this Christmas and afterward.

Imaginarium's 5-Way Giant Bead Maze Cube. The toy seller next month will be adding displays in its stores, and has supplemented its website, to promote the Imaginarium brand it bought in 1999. It has also expanded the Imaginarium line of products to more than 100 toys.. . . more

Monday, September 26, 2011

Deloitte forecasts 2.5% to 3% increase in holiday sales

Retailers should expect small gains in 2011 holiday sales, Deloitte forecast on Monday. The company’s retail & distribution practice expects total holiday sales to reach between $873 and $877 billion, representing a 2.5 to 3% increase over last season.

"Consumer spending was on the rise for several months despite dampened confidence in the economy among U.S. households," said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte's chief economist. . . . more

Route 1 growth pushed in Wrentham

Local officials the past few months have been stepping up their efforts to expand the town's commercial base to bring in more revenue and create jobs.

At a recent joint meeting of selectmen and members of the economic development commission and planning board, it was decided to focus on the underdeveloped Route 1 area, the vacant Crosby Valve site downtown, and the lingering empty parcel across from the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets on South Street (Route 1A).. . . more

Walmart Aims to Add Over 100 Stores Throughout NYC

According to a report compiled by non profit Alliance for A Greater New York, leading retailer Walmart aims to control 21 percent of New York City’s market.

In order to do so, Walmart would have to build 159 stores throughout the boroughs.. . . more

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sur La Table acquired by Investcorp

Sur La Table has been acquired by Investcorp, a global asset management firm. The Seattle-based retailer, which specializes in kitchen goods, operates 86 stores nationwide. . . more

Casual Male to open 12 DXL stores in 2011, 20 to 30 in 2012

Casual Male Retail Group has opened its eighth DestinationXL (DXL) location to date, in Westport, Conn. DXL is Casual Male’s new superstore format, housing Casual Male’s four existing apparel businesses: Casual Male XL, Rochester Big & Tall, Shoes XL and B&T Direct. . . more

Wal-Mart store opposed at Roxbury meeting

The possible opening of a Wal-Mart store in Roxbury drew strong opposition from residents and community leaders at a meeting last night, who said the company is not welcome in their neighborhood.

 “Our community is under siege,’’ said Jamarhl Crawford, publisher and editor of Blackstonian, a newspaper catering to communities of color in Boston. . . . more

Developers eye non-core markets

Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates, in partnership with National Real Estate Investor and Retail Traffic, released the results of a joint survey uncovering the perception of smaller, non-core (alternative) markets among owners and investors.

As the commercial real estate sector continues to recover, the core “primary” markets such as New York, Washington, D.C., Southern California and San Francisco continue to be the most desirable locales for larger, institutional investors. According to the survey results, secondary and tertiary markets are proving to be an increasingly attractive investment.. . . more

Yum! to sell Long John Silver’s, A&W to franchisees

Yum! Brands Inc. has signed definitive agreements to sell Long John Silver’s Inc. and A&W Restaurants Inc. to two separate groups of franchisees, the company said Thursday.

The Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands, which also franchises KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, said Long John Silver’s would be sold to LJS Partners, a consortium of franchisees and other investors. A&W Restaurants will be sold to A Great American Brand, which Yum described as a “franchisee leader with substantial interest in A&W restaurants.”. . . more

Sears Sells Itself As Place For Other Retailers To Set Up Shop

Sears Holdings Corp., whose sprawling stores are laden with extra space, is aggressively marketing itself as the place for other retailers to set up shop.

Sears, through its real estate arm, has listed on its website nearly 4,000 namesake and Kmart stores that have room for other stores or retail operations under lease arrangements. The number is close to the amount of the stores that Sears and Kmart operate in the U.S., and suggests that in some cases the properties have more value than the products offered. . . . more

Rite Aid 2Q loss narrows, 2012 forecast improves

Rite Aid Corp. said Thursday its fiscal second-quarter loss narrowed as a customer rewards program improved sales and Hurricane Irene brought the drugstore operator more business at the end of the quarter.

The chain has closed hundreds of stores in recent years and refinanced debt to improve its financial position. Sales at its remaining stores are improving.. . . more

Seasons 52 plots growth plan

Seasons 52, Darden Restaurants’ 18-unit seasonally oriented concept, has plans to open six new locations over the next year.

Three of the new restaurants are scheduled to open by the end of November next to Mercato Center in Naples, Fla.; in the St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, Fla.; and in the Country Club Plaza Center in Kansas City.

The three remaining locations are slated to open their doors next year in downtown Santa Monica, Calif.; in the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City on Long Island, N.Y.; and in the Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook, Ill., outside Chicago.. . . more

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bed Bath & Beyond Q2 profit up 26%, talks expansion

Bed Bath & Beyond reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended Aug. 27 rose 26% to $229.4 million, amid improved sales and contained costs. Sales for the quarter rose 8.3% to $2.3 billion, and same-store sales increased 5.6%.

Including the 24 stores it has opened to date, it anticipates opening a total of about 40 stores across all its concepts in fiscal 2011. . . . more

Grocery Shopping Centers Lure Buyers as $200 Million U.S. Venture Formed

About $5.58 billion of grocery centers were sold this year through the second quarter, 22 percent more than the $4.57 billion in all of 2010, according to New York-based Real Capital. The 2011 total is the highest since 2007, the peak of the commercial real estate market.

Supermarket-anchored centers haven’t been immune to the economic slowdown. Vacancy rates have risen as local retailers, such as dry cleaners and restaurants, have gone out of business. Reduced access to capital has prevented other stores from taking up their space. . . . more

Plight of the Independents

Disproportionate amount of restaurant closures highlight the challenges of an independent operation.

In August, the NPD Group released its annual tally of U.S. restaurant closures, and the study proved a sobering reminder of the challenges independent restaurants face in any climate, let alone one sitting in recession-era shadows.

The NPD Group reported that 9,450 restaurants closed during a 12-month period beginning April 1, 2010. Nearly 92 percent of the closures, or 8,650 units, were independents. . . more

iParty opening 11 pop-up stores

Party supplies retailer iParty Corp. is celebrating the Halloween season by adding hundreds of temporary jobs and opening 11 pop-up stores.
The Dedham company began opening the 11 temporary stores earlier this month and will open the last one by this weekend, iParty CEO Sal Perisano said.
Typical iParty stores are about 10,000 square feet in size, while the pop-up stores range in size from 5,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet.. . . more

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Top 10 Power Restaurant Chains

The top 10 midscale-, casual- and fine-dining companies

While the nation is slowly recovering from the recession, the restaurant industry has turned a critical corner in its 21st Century history. Provided exclusive data from Chicago-based research firm Technomic, Restaurant Management reviewed the sales and unit figures of the top 10 restaurant brands in the midscale, casual, and fine-dining categories from 2009 and 2010. The results show the proverbial mixed bag, as some leading restaurant brands accelerated into the new decade, while others continue working to shake off the recession’s lingering effects. . . more

Developer hopes Catalyst will spark foodie focus at other properties

The technological and the tasty are blending together in a Kendall Square life science center. . . more

7-Eleven to acquire 28 Pacific Convenience locations, will remodel/rebrand all

7-Eleven is acquiring the retail interests of 28 locations owned by Pacific Convenience & Fuels LLC. The acquisition includes sites in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado, and is slated to close in fourth quarter 2011. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. . . more

Firebrand Saints restaurant plans to open Friday in Kendall Sq

Firebrand Saints, the highly anticipated collaboration between Central Kitchen / Enormous Room proprietor Gary Strack and the Massachusetts Institute of Technologymay be open for business by this week, general manager Morgan Bigley said. . . more

Prominent retailer Owner to invest up to $125M in Quincy Center Project

The developer that will overhaul Quincy Center has reached a deal with one of the largest owners of retail property in the country to build, purchase and manage nearly 60 percent of the downtown project’s retail space.

National Realty and Development Corp. of New York will make an investment of $110 million to $125 million investment in Quincy Center, CEO Robert Baker said.. . . more

U.S. in strong growth position despite economic uncertainty

Despite the elevated risk of a second recession and concern over the recent U.S. debt ceiling debacle in Washington, D.C., and the ongoing European debt crisis, prospects are bright for the long-term future of the U.S. economy and retail real estate industry, attendees heard at ICSC’s Capital MarketPlace Conference in New York City Tuesday. “We see a two in three chance the U.S. economy will continue to grow,” said Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist for Charlotte–based Wells Fargo Securities. “All in all, it’s a pretty decent environment for commercial real estate. For the sector, low interest rates and slow growth is good.” . . . more

Tide is turning for Tewksbury strip mall

For nearly 10 years, the mall across from Gold's Gym on Main Street has been nearly a ghost town, the former home of a once-bustling Purity Supreme grocery store.

But now, a new tenant will be moving into the 40,000 square-foot facility at 553 Main St.: Ocean State Job Lot, a North Kingston, R.I.-based retailer that specializes in selling discounted items from manufacturer overruns, overstocks and packaging changes. And it hopes to renovate the building so it can open by Thanksgiving.. . . more

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Report: Southern N.H. retail on the rebound

More of southern New Hampshire's mid-range retail spaces are finding tenants, but so far that lowered vacancy rate hasn't trickled down to the region's smallest empty stores.

That's according to a new retail report, released by Keypoint Retail Partners LLC, a Burlington, Mass.-based commercial real estate firm, which found that total vacant retail space declined by 15 percent in southern New Hampshire from last May to this May. . . more

Farewell to Wilson Farms

Transition to 7-Eleven banner begins in western New York

The Wilson Farms Inc. convenience store chain, acquired by 7-Eleven Inc. earlier this year, has begun its transition to its new brand, reported the Buffalo News. A handful of the 188 locations have begun flying the 7- Eleven banner. Of those where remodeling is under way, contractors are at work renovating sites, aisles are being configured and 7-Eleven's iconic drinks--Big Gulp and Slurpee--are making their debut. . . more

Retailers may be leery about holiday hiring

Even though U.S. retailers will likely ring up increased sales this holiday season, their concerns about the economy and consumer sentiment may translate into conservative seasonal hiring -- not-so-encouraging news for the troubled U.S. job market.

Seasonal job gains in the retail sector will be about the same as or possibly lower than a year earlier, when employment grew by 627,600 from October through December, according to the outplacement consulting firm Challenger Gray & Christmas.
. . . more

JC Penney Agrees To Let Vornado Realty Increase Stake In Retailer

J.C. Penney Co. said Monday in a regulatory filing that it has allowed shopping center owner Vornado Realty Trust to increase its stake in the department store retailer, from 9.9% to 15.4%.

The move eases a poison-pill restriction that had prevented Vornado from previously buying additional J.C. Penney shares. It mirrors a deal struck with Penney’s largest shareholder William Ackman, who received the go-ahead to up his stake, held through his Pershing Square Capital Management hedge fund, from 16.5% to as much as 26.1%. . . . more

Best Buy seen pulling plug on UK megastores

Best Buy Co is likely to abandon its British megastores next year, retreating from an overseas expansion plan that has been stymied by a global recession and cultural differences in how people like to shop.

Analysts said they expect the move to shutter the British big box stores to come in early 2012 as the company instead needs to focus on strengthening its mainstay U.S. business against cut-throat competition from discounters and online rivals.. . . more

Quiznos Coming to Vermont Convenience Stores

Quiznos announced a partnership with Vermont-based convenience and gasoline retailer, Champlain Farms, to open Quiznos restaurants inside Champlain Farms’ 40 locations. The partnership is a significant milestone in the company’s convenience store growth strategy and demonstrates a continued commitment to partner with strong, regional convenience store operators for success in the convenience store channel.. . . more

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stores reversing big-box trend

They're going smaller as they consider the needs of each location

The belief in retail that bigger is better may be fading. National chains known for their huge stores are starting to think smaller.

Big-box retailers are moving away from the one-large-size-fits-all strategy to a philosophy of getting more out of smaller spaces and assessing the needs of each location.. . . more

ICSC calls for 3% gain in holiday sales, down from 4.1% in 2010

The International Council of Shopping Centers said it expects holiday sales to increase 3% this year, which is below the 4.1% gain in 2010.

Holiday sales are expected to reach $250.2 billion, the highest since the 2007 peak, when spending totaled $251.7 billion, according to the group, whose forecast is among the first to come out for the holiday 2011 shopping season.

The ICSC predicted that holiday same-store sales will rise 3.5%, slightly lower than the 3.8% pace in 2010. . . . more

Borders bookstores go bye-bye

Last Borders shoppers wistful, looking for deals

The scene this weekend at the last of the remaining Borders bookstores to close was more like a memorial service than a funeral. Shoppers reminisced fondly about their beloved bookseller rather than grieve its loss.

Amid upbeat jazz music and large red-and-yellow signs announcing the “Final Days” of the Borders in Queens in New York City, customers snagged deals on used chairs and coffee machines. At a Borders in Cincinnati, readers were eager to grab book titles for up to 90 percent off. And signs at a Borders in Cambridge, Mass., implored shoppers to haggle: “No Reasonable Offer Refused.”
. . . more

Payless Shoes Poised for Buyout at 76% Sales Discount

Collective Brands Inc., owner of the Payless ShoeSource chain, may lure private equity buyers as it trades at a 76 percent discount to its sales.

Collective Brands, which is reviewing “a full range” of plans to bolster shareholder value after falling 36 percent this year, has a price-to-sales multiple that’s cheaper than 96 percent of U.S. apparel and shoe retailers greater than $500 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.. . . more

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pier 1 reports another strong quarter

Pier 1 Imports posted another strong quarter, reporting a net profit increase of 15.6 percent to $16.6 million for the three months that ended Aug. 27.

Sales in comparable stores -- those open at least a year, an industry benchmark -- rose 10.8 percent, on top of the 11.2 percent increase the company posted a year ago. The period marked Pier 1's eighth straight quarter of gains.. . . more

Esprit to divest North America operations, looking to offload 93 U.S. stores

On the heels of a 98% drop in its yearly earnings, Esprit Holdings said it is divesting its North American businesses and exiting three major European markets.

The company said it is actively looking for a partner willing to acquire its North American operations, which include 93 stores in the United States. . . . more

Grocery gap growing as Walmart, Target hold prices

As shoppers do all they can to save at the grocery store, there's a growing gap between two kinds of stores: National chains that generally keep prices stable week-to-week and regional stores that run sporadic sales.

Inflation in food prices is putting that different into stark contrast, as picking the right store can mean saving or losing 25 percent on a $80 grocery run.. . . more

Baltimore area grocery stores prepare for Wegmans

With the opening of Wegmans in Abingdon just days away, representatives of many of the grocery stores already in Harford County don't seem worried about its impact.

Klein's ShopRite Spokesman Mike Blum even welcomed the incoming chain.. . . more

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Borders epilogue: 'We were in perpetual crisis'

Former CEO reflects on struggles he faced trying to save Ann Arbor bookstore chain
Mike Edwards, the then-chief executive of Borders Group Inc., spent Christmas Day in Florida. The bookstore chain's fourth-quarter sales for the all-important holiday season tumbled for the second year in a row, and Edwards and another Borders board member made an emergency trip to billionaire Chairman Bennett LeBow's Miami estate to manage the crisis before news leaked. . . . more

I survived Target's Missoni disaster

Like approximately 356 of my Facebook friends, I spent Tuesday morning driving from Target to Target looking for Missoni. Missoni! Missoni! Are you sick of hearing the word yet? In the last day, various media outlets have been going mad about Target's Missoni disaster. When the megastore chain announced it would be selling the beloved brand's clothes, fans went crazy -- a little too crazy. Buyers crashed the Target website, and there were reports of stampedes, and assorted other frenzies. And I should know, because I witnessed Missoni Madness firsthand. . . more

Fenway plan adds retail and housing

Target store might anchor new building BRA to consider $250m proposal

The proposed building, with one tier framed in brick and another covered in glass, seems to reflect the Fenway neighborhood’s folksy past and its modernist present.

It is developer Steve Samuels’ latest effort to revitalize a scrubby section of Boylston Street near Fenway Park by adding a mix of residences and retail options, including what would be that area’s first Target department store.
. . . more

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Developers Diversified changing its name to DDR, reflecting changes in company strategy

Developers Diversified Realty Corp. will become DDR Corp., reflecting its shift away from new development and its more streamlined portfolio of big-box shopping centers. Shares of Developers Diversified's stock already trade under the DDR ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange.

"Our new name accurately reflects the fact that we have simplified our strategy, portfolio and capital structure," Daniel Hurwitz, the company's president and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.
. . . more

Chipotle's growth machine

Founder Steve Ells has built a multibillion-dollar Mexican food chain by providing fresh meals fast. Can he do it again, this time with Asian cuisine? Or is he a one-hit wonder?

It's fast food, but it still may be the most anticipated restaurant launch in town. In a modest unmarked storefront near Dupont Circle in downtown D.C., ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen is finalizing the menu and training the staff. . . . more

Margaritas begins franchise push

Margaritas Mexican Restaurant, a 23-unit casual-dining chain based in Portsmouth, N.H., has named Hugo Marin president as it begins a franchising push.

“I’m still in the acclimating phase,” Marin said of his new job, and added that the company’s focus was to franchise more restaurants.. . . more

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Best Buy 2Q profit falls

It's called Best Buy, but is the name an empty promise?

The nation's biggest electronics retailer had performed relatively well throughout the economic downturn in part by touting its customer service prowess and because shoppers were snapping up new smartphones and notebook computers as soon as they hit shelves. But on Tuesday, Best Buy posted second-quarter profit that plunged 30 percent. . . more