REAL ESTATE

American Dream mega-mall adds huge Primark store

BY Mike Troy

The American Dream mall will encompass three million square feet when it opens in northern New Jersey in 2017 and occupying 100,000 sq. ft. of that space will be fashion retailer Primark.

Primark, a leading European retailer (290 stores in 10 countries) of women’s, men’s and children’s apparel and home good, opened its first two U.S. stores in late 2015 in Boston and the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania. The company has also announced plans for six additional locations in 2016. The new store at American Dream, one of Primark’s largest, will be the company’s first in northern New Jersey.

"We are delighted to be joining this superb location in the New York Metropolitan area," said Paul Marchant, Primark’s CEO. "The opening of our store at American Dream is a notable step forward in our focused momentum in the Northeast, and we look forward to continuing to provide our amazing fashion at amazing prices to new Primark customers."

American Dream is being developed by Triple Five Group of Companies, owners of the two largest shopping and entertainment centers in North America – Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall. The company has previously vowed that when the massive complex opens in the spring of 2017 it will redefine retail and set the standard for what customer experience looks like moving forward.

It’s hard to argue with that assertion given the location and the scope of the project. American Dream is located in Bergen County, New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex at the intersection of three major highways – I-95, Route 3, Route 120 – that service more than 100 Million vehicles annually and connected by passenger rail service to Penn Station in Manhattan.

So far, anchor tenants include Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor along with more than 450 retailers, including Aritzia, Banana Republic, Gap, Lululemon, MAC, Microsoft, Pink, Uniqlo, Victoria’s Secret and Zara and food and specialty shops. In addition, the mall will contain North America's largest fully-enclosed indoor DreamWorks Water Park, Amusement Park and a 16-story Big Snow Indoor Ski & Snow Park; a 1,500 seat live Performing Arts Theater; 285-ft. tall observation wheel; luxury movie theatres by Cinemex; 70,000-sq.-ft. Sea Life Aquarium & Lego Discovery Center; NHL-size Ice Rink; and an18-hole miniature golf course. An area of the mall called The Collections encompasses 460,000 sq. ft. of luxury and fashion retail and The Dining Terrace will contain 15 full-service restaurants showcased in one location.

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Cash Recyclers are a Game-Changer

BY CSA STAFF

When one looks at the hot topics in retail today, no shortage of economists, journalists, industry thought-leaders and technology pundits are talking about the future of payments. One topic that many aren’t really discussing is managing large volumes of cash receivables.

As anyone who pays attention to these kinds of things is well aware, in recent years there has been a move toward digital-based payments technologies, especially in the mobile category. Add cryptocurrencies (i.e. Bitcoin) and blockchain technology to the discussion, and it can seem that in this digital future, paper and coin currencies will become relics.

Although cash transactions are on the decline when comparing cash usage against other payment methods as a percentage of total sales, the reality is that cash remains the most prominent method of payment when it comes to transactions taking place in retail environments.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, two economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond researched two billion transactions that took place at a chain of discount stores from April 2010 through March 2013. Their findings? Cash was the most popular method of payment, by a wide margin.

They concluded that cash was so prevalent in “small-dollar transactions” because of its sheer convenience and speed.

Another major contributing factor that drives cash usage in the U.S. is the “unbanked” and “underbanked” segments of the population. (An underbanked person is someone who may have a bank account but also uses alternative financial services (AFS) outside of the banking system. An unbanked person has no bank account.)

Other research shows that when consumers make quick purchases and low-dollar value transactions, even consumers with credit and/or debit cards opt to use cash more often than non-cash payments. In fact, who use them every day are 49% more likely to use cash for purchases less than $20 and currency is used by most consumers for purchases below $10, regardless of preference.

The easiest way to measure cash usage is by its volume in circulation. From 2007 to 2012, the amount of bills and coins in circulation in the U.S. grew 42% and that figure has actually continued to grow steadily since 2012.

Cash Management Solutions
No matter what the statistics show, every organization that manages cash is looking for solutions that help them to reduce the risk, expense, and resource cost that comes with processing cash transactions. One of the key factors for success, especially for the chain retail organizations, is determining a “right-sized” solution for cash management and optimization; one that is fully scalable for all locations.

For a location that handles less on average less than $5,000 daily cash deposit, a “Smart Safe” solution that counts, validates, and secures currency, supports end-to-end remote cash deposit, provide a deposit receipt and communicates the daily cash totals to the retailer’s bank will reduce risk and errors, increase staff productivity, reduce risk and theft, and accelerate credit for cash deposits.

The retailers’ bank often provides provisional credit for the deposits while the cash awaits pickup from the armored carrier service.

New Approach
One approach that has been recently gaining a lot of traction among retail organizations with locations handling $5,000 or more in cash receipts is the deployment of cash recycler solutions for end-to-end cash handling automation.

Cash recycler setups will include a “smart safe” device — with added functionality that that allows retailers to deposit coins as well as notes. Retailers can make withdrawals for change (notes and coins) and the device actually “recycles” the lower-value bills and coins, which drastically reduces the need for change orders. By automatically validating the currency and transmitting the value to the retailers’ bank account – before the cash has been physically moved – the cash recycler solution eliminate the traditional labor-intensive processing.

This also effectively turns the currency on location into “bank owned cash” which frees up all that working capital, and when it comes to the big retail chains with multiple locations with $5,000 and up daily cash receipts, those numbers scale upwards pretty fast. Calculate the value of all the currency “trapped” at any one time at each one of a large chain’s many hundreds (or thousands) of retail store locations. Ultimately, larger the retail operation, the more valuable the solution becomes.

In addition, cash recycler solutions collect and store a treasure trove of data around chain-wide cash requirements, all the way down to a store-by-store basis, which retailers can harvest and use for trending and forecasting to increase operational efficiencies.



Joan Brancaccio is managing director and product management executive, global receivables in global transaction services at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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College kids lend Lane Bryant plus-size prowess

BY CSA STAFF

Lane Bryant is all about changing the conversation regarding plus-size fashion and thanks to the efforts of a dozen design students the retailer is interpreting what that means for shoppers.

Lane Bryant is the 762 store division of Ascena Retail Group focused on serving what it calls the women’s special size apparel market, or women sizes 14 to 28. To fulfill that mission, the company recently collaborate with the students of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles as part of the school’s mentor program. Lane Bryant worked 12 students to design a new sportswear collection. Representatives from Lane Bryant consulted with participants throughout the course of the program, from the initial design process, to fits and a final fashion show that showcased the students' work.

"This collaboration is an important step in our continuing mission to change the conversation regarding plus-size fashion. At a foundational level, we want students and future designer to see the possibilities of creating great design for all women," said Lane Bryant CEO and President Linda Heasley. "Working with the future of fashion is incredibly inspiring, and I can't wait for our customers to see what these talented individuals designed."

Customer get a chance to see the collection on Feb. 2, when it goes on sale online, at the brand's flagship location on 34th Street in Manhattan and at a store at Del Amo Fashion Center in the Los Angeles area. Items in the collection range in price from $54.95 to $119.95.

In exchange for the students’ contribution, Lane Bryant said it will contribute $10,000 to the Otis College of Design Scholarship Fund.

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