REAL ESTATE

Aldi to open 30 stores in Houston market

BY Marianne Wilson

Houston — Discount supermarket operator Aldi announced it is preparing to enter the Houston market with 30 new stores over the next three years. The expansion will begin in spring of 2013, with the opening of more than 10 new locations.

With this expanded Texas footprint, Aldi is expected to bring 400 jobs and an investment of over $100 million of capital expenditures to the local community. The first Aldi stores in Houston will open in the spring of 2013, with more than 10 new locations.

“Our history and recent growth in Texas has us poised for great success in the Houston area as more and more shoppers are discovering the high-value, high-quality shopping experience that Aldi offers,” said Scott Huska, division VP for Aldi. The chain currently has more than 1,200 stores in 32 states, including 37 stores in Texas, most of which are located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area.

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OPERATIONS

Harris survey ranks Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Target and Walgreens highest in their categories

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Kohl’s, Nordstrom and Target ranked first in their categories in a new survey by Harris Interactive The 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study surveyed Americans about brands across several retail segments, revealing which brands prompted them to open their hearts—and consequently—their pocketbooks.

While all brands in the department store category dropped in 2012, Kohl’s came out on top as the Department Store Brand of the Year. Kohl’s edged out J.C. Penney in 2009 and has maintained its lead in the rankings ever since. Kohl’s shows the highest overall brand equity score, carried by a strong performance in purchase consideration.

Nordstrom led the ratings in a new category and was named Luxury Department Store Brand of the Year. Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdale’s, included in the study for the first time, placed second and third respectively in the luxury ratings.

In the value retailer category, Target was the Value Retail Brand of the Year, surpassing Walmart. While this is just the second year of this award category, in 2007 Target supplanted Walmart in overall retailer rankings, and has maintained its lead ever since. Top scores for all three elements of brand equity – Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Intention – drove this strong performance.

Walgreens takes the top spot as EquiTrend’s first-ever Drugstore Brand of the Year, while CVS and Rite Aid came in second and third, respectively, in this new category for 2012. Top scores for Familiarity and Purchase Consideration boosted Walgreens to the top.

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REAL ESTATE

Australian brand Lorna Jane set to open second U.S. Location

BY Marianne Wilson

Los Angeles — Lorna Jane, the premier Australian activewear brand for women, will open its second U.S. location, in Marina del Rey, Calif., this month.

The company’s other U.S. location opened in March 2012, in Malibu, Calif. A third flagship store is scheduled to open in June in Santa Monica, and an online retail store will launch later this year.

“Bill, my husband and Lorna Jane CEO, and I have visited Marina del Rey many times on our trips to the US and have always enjoyed the active lifestyle there,” said founder and chief creative officer Lorna Jane Clarkson. “The brand and my own personal philosophy, Move Nourish Believe, resonates with the healthy and vibrant nature, and we hope the women in the area will embrace Lorna Jane and love what we have to offer.”

The new store’s decor is representative of a classic Australian Lorna Jane store so that the culture and history of the brand can be conveyed to the U.S. customer. The walls are whitewashed, complemented by timber floors, and soft furnishings. Inspirational sayings and inspiring images greet you as you enter and the color scheme is warm and uses neutral tones.

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