REAL ESTATE

Ashley Furniture Industries to open 50 bedding stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. plans to open about 50 bedding stores, under the Zzz’s By Ashley banner, in 2012, according to Furniture Today. The sleep shops will average about 4,500 sq. ft. each, and will offer a wide selection of mattresses and sleep accessories.

“I think we can open several thousand in the next 10 years,” Ben Thorud, the Ashley executive who is heading the new initiative, told Furniture Today.

According to Thorud, the stores will be designed to provide a better type of mattress shopping experience for consumers, with a system that makes selecting a mattress informative and easy to understand.

The new initiative, which has been in the works for several years, will operate along similar lines used by the Ashley Furniture HomeStores, with both licensees and corporate-owned stores, the report said.

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FINANCE

PayPal signs on 15 national retailers for its mobile payment service

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — PayPal has confirmed partnership with 15 national retailers, including J.C. Penney, American Eagle Outfitters, Toys “R” Us and Foot Locker, for its mobile wallet service.

The other new retailers accepting PayPay’s payment service are Barnes & Noble, Office Depot, American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Rooms To Go, Jos. A. Bank, Aeropostale, Foot Locker, Nine West, Jamba Juice, Guitar Center, TigerDirect and Advance Auto Parts.

“Consumers are relying on technology now more than ever to simplify their lives when it comes to shopping and paying, and retailers must adapt to this shift or risk becoming irrelevant,” PayPal CEO David Marcus wrote in a blog post about the initiative.

Earlier this year Home Depot began accepting PayPal in about 2,000 stores.

PayPal, a division of eBay, also announced deals with VeriFone Systems and Equinox to integrate PayPal functional into their payment terminals. The company previously signed a deal with POS terminal maker Ingenico, and now has access to close to 40 million payment terminals worldwide.

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OPERATIONS

Rite Aid names CEO John Standley as chairman

BY Alaric Dearment

New York — Rite Aid has appointed president and CEO John Standley as chairman, the retail pharmacy chain said Friday.

Rite Aid announced that its board of directors had elected Standley to replace current chairman Mary Sammons, effective June 21. Sammons has served as chairman since June 2007 and plans to step down at the company’s annual stockholder meeting.

“John is a proven leader who is highly knowledgeable about our company and has done an outstanding job leading the organization’s turnaround efforts since becoming president and CEO in June 2010,” Sammons said. “With the company’s strong progress under John’s leadership, the board believes the time is right to recombine the roles of chairman and CEO and that this unified structure will provide decisive and effective leadership within and outside the company.”

In addition to Standley’s appointment, the company also will retain Michael Regan as lead independent director. Regan has served as an independent director since 2007.

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