Manhattan’s Times Square has a new megawatt attraction: M&M’s World .The 25,000-sq.-ft. store is dedicated to the popular candy brand and sells a wide array of M&M’s-themed merchandise and memorabilia, from key chains and sweatshirts to original artwork. The design, by Columbus, Ohio-based Chute Gerdeman (which also designed the company’s Orlando, Fla., location), uses dynamic colors, including color-changing LED effects, and brand imagery to make the M&M’s candies larger than life and create a one-of-a-kind experience. The space includes what is billed as “the world’s largest wall of chocolate,” a 2-story-high wall made up of 72 continuous tubes filled with M&M’s. The facade is illuminated with two enormous video billboards that feature a constantly moving kaleidoscope of M&M’s and its signature candy characters.… Perfumania is updating its store image. The chain’s new prototype, developed by L2M Inc., Glen Burnie, Md., has a sleek, clean look, with polished ceramic tile and wood accents. L2M has been named national architect for the chain, which has nearly 300 stores nationwide.… American Apparel will expand its presence in Britain. The Los Angeles-based chain, which has three stores in London, plans three more U.K. locations by yearend. It is also looking to open in Ireland. Endeavor Acquisition Corp. recently acquired American Apparel.… Selfridges’ London flagship on Oxford Street is getting a makeover. As part of the project, the ground floor is being transformed from the men’s accessories department to what is called the Room of Wonder. It will house jewelry, watches and luxury food items.… Saks Fifth Avenue is launching a new logo that will appear on everything from store awnings to shopping bags to boxes. Developed by Pentagram Design Inc. and Terron Schaefer, Saks’ group senior VP of creative and marketing, the new black-and-white logo takes its cues from the retailer’s well-known stacked-script one that debuted in 1973 but was later replaced with a cleaner, modern font.
FRCH Design Worldwide opened an office in Las Vegas as part of its work there as architect of record for the $2 billion redesign of the Tropicana resort.
SAVE THE DATE
Chain Store Age’s annual SPECS conference will be held March 4-7 at Walt Disney World Dolphin, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. For more information, see page 109 or visit www.specsshow.com.
SBLM Architects, New York City, served as the architect for Century 21’s store in Paramus, N.J. (featured in the December 2006 issue of Chain Store Age).
Victoria’s Secret Names New CEO
Columbus, Ohio, Limited Brands Inc. on Monday announced that Lori Greeley will replace Grace Nichols as CEO of Victoria’s Secret Stores. Greeley is currently executive VP and general merchandising manager of intimates for Victoria’s Secret.
The retirement of Nichols, a 20-year Limited veteran, from the CEO post was announced in May 2006. She will take a new role supporting initiatives within Victoria’s Secret, including the growth of its Intimissimi brand.
Additionally, Mark Weikel, COO of Victoria’s Secret Stores, will add the title of president.
Wal-Mart to Focus on Expanding Seiyu
New York City, Wal-Mart Stores is open to acquisition opportunities in Japan, but the retailer is more focused on expanding business at its 53%-owned Seiyu chain, according to a report by Reuters. Shares of Seiyu jumped Monday after Wal-Mart vice chairman Michael Duke told the Nikkei business daily that the company might look for more acquisition opportunities in Japan.
The paper reported that Duke welcomed planned changes in corporate laws in May that will enable foreign companies to buy Japanese firms through share swaps.
Wal-Mart last year tried to invest in superstore operator Daiei Inc., aiming to boost its presence in the country, but it lost the chance to Aeon Co., Japan’s second-biggest retail group.
Wal-Mart entered the Japanese market in 2002 by taking a small stake in Seiyu. It has since invested more than $1 billion in the chain, but has yet to return the retailer to profitability.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Amy Wyatt said Wal-Mart’s focus in Japan is on Seiyu.
“It’s a very sizable business today, so we still think that there are a lot of growth opportunities in the existing business,” she said.
In terms of acquisitions, she said: “I wouldn’t go as far as to say we’re shopping for them.”