REAL ESTATE

Art Van Furniture plans two new Chicago-area stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Warren, Mich. – Art Van Furniture is adding its seventh Chicagoland location in Downers Grove. Renovations are set to begin to transform the two-story 106,000-square-ft. building into a new store scheduled to open in January 2015.

Art Van Furniture plans to hire at least 70 associates in Downers Grove, bringing the total number of new jobs created in Chicagoland to more than 600. The multi-million dollar store renovation will include a 10,000 square foot expansion as well a new main entrance. An escalator will also be installed in the center of the main floor and upper showrooms.

The retailer is also grand opening its sixth Chicagoland location in Woodridge-Bolingbrook in April, 2014. During 2013, the retailer rolled out its planned expansion into the region, opening five contemporary new stores in Chicago (Logan Square), Bedford Park, Orland Park, Batavia and Merrillville, Ind.

"There is tremendous potential for success and we believe Downers Grove will become our flagship store based on its tremendous size and superb location," said Kim Yost, CEO of Art Van Furniture. "We look forward to enhancing the homes of the families in the vibrant Downers Grove community and its surrounding suburbs."

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FINANCE

Report: Restaurant sales growth to continue in 2014

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – Despite economic challenges, the restaurant industry should experience its fifth consecutive year of sales growth in 2014. According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast, industry sales are projected to exceed $683 billion in 2014, up 3.6% from 2013’s sales volume of $659.3 billion.

In addition, NRA data predicts that in 2014, the restaurant industry will employ 13.5 million individuals and remain the nation’s second-largest private sector employer. The restaurant workforce continued to grow at a robust rate in 2013, keeping the industry among the economy’s leaders in job creation.

Eating-and-drinking places are projected to add jobs at a 2.8% rate in 2014, which will represent the 15th consecutive year in which industry job growth outpaced the overall economy.

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R.Barnfield says:
Mar-04-2014 05:16 am

Employers in the United
Employers in the United States added more jobs than expected last month, according to a private sector report. It is only the latest report to indicate some, but not enough, growth in the stagnant U.S. economy.

R.Barnfield says:
Mar-04-2014 05:16 am

Employers in the United States added more jobs than expected last month, according to a private sector report. It is only the latest report to indicate some, but not enough, growth in the stagnant U.S. economy.

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OPERATIONS

Report: LLBean.com tops in December online customer service

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – LLBean.com was ranked No. 1 in customer service among all major online retailers during the month of December 2013. According to the Stella Monthly Ranking from the StellaService customer service analysis firm, LLBean.com snared this honor for the second consecutive month.

In addition, during December 2013 Amazon.com ranked first in returns in the mass merchant category for the second consecutive month with an average of just two days to issue a refund, beating out all competitors in the vertical by more than three days. Lowes.com was the top rated shipper in the month of December. Lowes.com ranked at the top in a month when shipping delays made headlines by being fast at fulfilling orders and also sourcing products from stores in the same city as the order was placed or within a 150-mile radius, leading to faster transit speeds.

Fab.com improved in the month of December to join the Top 10 overall retailers. In the mass merchant category, Fab took the top spot in email response time and packaging fit, and it was ranked in the top five in shipping.

The top 10 overall online retailers for customer service in December were L.L.Bean, Wayfair, Net-A-Porter, Ralph Lauren, Fab.com, Lululemon, J.Crew, Barneys, Sierra Trading Post, and Sur La Table. December is the highest overall volume online shopping month of the year.

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