HOT CONCEPTS

Aldi, Westfield Chicago Ridge, Chicago Ridge, Ill.

BY CSA STAFF

Discount grocer Aldi has made its U.S. mall debut, opening in Westfield Chicago Ridge, an 800,000-sq.-ft. enclosed shopping center in suburban Chicago Ridge, Ill. The mall is a property of The Westfield Group.

Brightly lit and colorful, the 20,000-sq.-ft. Aldi resembles a prototypical Aldi in most respects.

“We were very effective in making the store interior fit our freestanding prototype,” Michael Jessen, division VP, Aldi, told Chain Store Age. “On the exterior, we worked closely with Westfield, and were able to provide a good presentation of the store on the footage we were given.”

The new Aldi has no parking lot entrance. It can be only entered through the mall. To ease parking concerns, special “Aldi preferred” parking is located just outside two mall entrances. There are about 75 preferred spaces in total.

Shoppers in the United States are still largely unaccustomed to supermarkets inside enclosed malls. To date, however, the Chicago Ridge store, which is a replacement for a nearby, now-closed Aldi that had grown old, has received an enthusiastic reaction.

“We are very thrilled with the response so far,” Jessen said.

Aldi operates 1,155 stores in some 29 states. The chain has more than 150 stores in the Chicagoland area, 54 of which have opened within the past five years.

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Safeway private label makes record-breaking debut

BY CSA STAFF

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway celebrated National Picnic Day on Monday by breaking the Guinness World Record for longest picnic table and debuting its new private-label brand.

The record-setting picnic, held at the Marina Green in San Francisco, featured Safeway’s Open Nature, a newly launched line of all-natural foods that includes meat and poultry, bread, yogurt, ice cream and salad dressing products, that were prepared by Food Network chef Tyler Florence. Safeway also succeeded at building a table exceeding 305 ft.

"Open Nature is a natural product line that consumers can have total confidence in because the ingredients are easy to understand and listed on the front of each package. We believe that nature has nothing to hide, and neither should your food," Safeway marketing president Mike Minasi said. "Having lunch at the World’s Longest Picnic Table on National Picnic Day is the perfect vehicle for celebrating our Open Nature promise that ingredients should come from nature, and food should have as little processing as possible."

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Guess? Marciano is retiring

BY CSA STAFF

LOS ANGELES — Guess? Inc. has announced that Maurice Marciano, the company’s co-founder and chairman of its board of directors, has notified the company of his decision to retire as an executive officer when his current employment agreement expires on Jan. 28, 2012, the end of the company’s current fiscal year. Marciano will continue to serve the company as non-rxecutive chairman of its board of directors.

Marciano founded Guess? with his brothers in 1981. Over the last thirty years, he served in a number of senior executive positions, including CEO or co-CEO from 1993 to 2007 and chairman or co-chairman of the board from 1993 to the present.

In accordance with the terms of Marciano’s current employment agreement, the company and Mr. Marciano have entered into a two-year consulting agreement, under which Mr. Marciano will provide consulting services to the company, including advice and counsel to the company’s CEO and other senior executives. The consulting agreement will become effective upon the expiration of his current employment agreement on Jan. 28, 2012.

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