REAL ESTATE

Asana Partners names managing director for merchandising and leasing

BY Marianne Wilson

Charlotte, N.C. — Asana Partners announced Robin Hilliard has joined the company as managing director, responsible for merchandising and leasing.

“Robin has honed her skills nationally in retail real estate over several decades, and her expertise is evident in the executive-level relationships she has established with a broad base of diversified retailers,” said Terry Brown, chairman & CEO of Asana Partners. “Paired with a depth of understanding of the high-growth, urban markets the company is targeting, this experience will be key in her leadership role here.”

Hilliard brings over 34 years of retail real estate experience in merchandising, leasing, site selection, asset management, and demographic analysis. Most recently, she was VP of real estate at Pure Barre. While there, she directed the national rollout of more than 260 stores with overall responsibility for expansion planning, GIS analysis, site selection, and lease negotiation.

Before joining Pure Barre, Hilliard was VP and regional director of leasing at Weingarten Realty, where she established the company’s North Carolina presence and had responsibility for the regional leasing activity, asset management, property management, development, and construction of a four million square foot portfolio.

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DEALS

RCS Real Estate Advisors to market Hancock Fabrics store leases

BY Marianne Wilson

RCS Real Estate Advisors has begun the process of selling Hancock Fabrics' 185 leases to generate value for the estate.

The move, which comes following Hancocks' February bankruptcy announcement represents the next step in the recent retention of RCS by Hancock Fabrics, debtor-in-possession (DIP) that has been approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

"As part of the plan to liquidate Hancock Fabrics, RCS will be marketing the leases of the remaining 185 stores scheduled for closure and will, if necessary, be conducting a bankruptcy auction to maximize the potential value for the estate," said RCS senior VP Spence J. Mehl. "RCS is currently accepting bids on these leases in 33 states with availabilities between 8,000 and 30,000 sq. ft."

Hancock Fabrics operated 250 retail stores in 37 states when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on February 2, 2016.

RCS specializes in analyzing retail real estate portfolios, reducing occupancy costs and expanding footprints.

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MOBILITY

1-800-Flowers.com plants seeds of seamless consistency

BY CSA STAFF

Specialty retailer 1-800-Flowers.com operates across several banners and channels, and is trying to present as unified a customer experience as possible.

1-800-Flowers has chosen the IBM Commerce on Cloud solution to ease the process of conducting transactions across all its brands, including Harry & David, Wolferman’s and Fannie May. The platform will also help deliver a seamless customer experience across the Web, mobile and call center channels.

Using IBM Commerce on Cloud order management capabilities, 1-800-Flowers can eliminate silos that previously existed in the fulfillment processes of its different banners. Customers will also be able to see the status of multi-brand orders online.

In addition, the retailer will able to reduce the time and cost of infrastructure management and more efficiently manage its large seasonal spikes in demand. The company’s future plans include infusing IBM’s cognitive capabilities into the platform to enhance its ability to provide highly personalized customer experiences.

"Our customers are coming to us, across all of our brands, to help them address their many gifting and celebratory needs,” said Chris McCann, president, 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. “It’s our job to deliver a convenient and enjoyable customer experience every time we interact with them. We do this through a combination of truly original products and an expanding range of services – and IBM’s Commerce on Cloud solution is helping us deliver on that promise.”

Many retailers operate across multiple banners, and even “pure play” digital retailers like 1-800-Flowers typically operate in several channels such as Web, mobile, call center and social. Unifying orders on the back end creates cost savings and operational efficiencies while also delivering a much more satisfying and coherent seamless front-end experience.

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