REAL ESTATE

Banana Republic flagship to debut in Paris in December

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — Gap announced Monday that it will open its first Banana Republic store in France in Paris in early December. The 15,952-sq.-ft. store will be located on Avenue des Champs Élysées, one of the most popular international shopping destinations in the world.

“Following the success of our London and Milan openings, we are delighted to bring Banana Republic to Paris and take another exciting step in our international growth strategy,” said Stephen Sunnucks, president, International, Gap.

The new store features architecture and materials inspired by the heritage of France but with connections back to America with an exhibition of iconic imagery curated by Michael Hoppen. Many of the building’s original architectural details have been retained and updated; the contemporary white and black diamond marble floors combined with limestone, sweeping marble feature staircase and an old era style lift accessing the main shopping area lit by a Charles Edwards chandelier. French Art Deco antiques, curved ebony paneling and black enamel detailing create the feeling of a residential environment while a series of neoclassical arches and vaults evoke a shopping promenade.

Last year, the company opened its first Banana Republic store in Italy in Milan. In 2010, the company also made Banana Republic products available to European customers online by launching a dedicated e-commerce site.

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OPERATIONS

Home centers among Irene’s retail winners, apparel stores lose out

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — The impact of Hurricane Irene on retail sales is likely to split among category lines: Home-improvement stores selling emergency preparation products and clean-up items are likely to benefit the most from the storm, while apparel retailers and department stores selling non-essential items are likely to take a hit.

Industry analysts noted that big-box stores, drug stores and supermarkets all experienced sales surges prior to Irene’s arrival, but the biggest winners are likely to be home centers. In fact, pre-and-post storm sales may aid same-store sales at Home Depot and Lowe’s each by 1% point in the third quarter, said Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. analyst David Schick in a MarketWatch report.

However, many retailers in the Northeast saw sales drop as they were forced to close doors over the busy late-summer weekend. Apparel retailers and department stores — and back-to-school sales in general — were expected to be among the biggest losers. Irene may have reduced apparel retailers’ same- store sales by 0.5% or less for the month as consumers stayed home during the critical back-to-school shopping season, Jennifer Davis, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, noted in an e-mail, Bloomberg reported. Supermarkets, drug stores and big-box retailers likely benefited, she said.

The Home Depot shipped more than 1,000 truckloads of extra storm-related supplies, spokesman Stephen Holmes said in the Bloomberg report. Chainsaws, cleaning supplies and vacuums are now in demand as people shifted their focus from storm preparation to clean-up, Holmes said.
Similarly, Lowe’s Cos. shipped more than 1,000 extra truckloads of flashlights, batteries and generators to East Coast stores, Bloomberg reported.

As of 9 a.m. Monday, Wal-Mart said it had no reports of significant damage to any of its nearly 600 facilities located along the East Coast. At peak, there were 297 stores and clubs that were closed due to the hurricane. As the storm has moved north, it has reopened 259 of those stores and clubs.

Irene’s total damage, including uninsured losses, could range from $5 billion to $7 billion, he said. That stands in contrast to Hurricane Katrina, which reportedly cost more than $70 billion in insured losses alone.

Since Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has begun studying ways to work with the private sector, including national retailers, during emergencies. For an interesting look at how The Home Depot and Wal-Mart prepared for the storm, go to npr.org/2011/08/26/139941596/big-box-stores-hurricane-prep-starts-early?ps=cprs

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News

Office Depot offers customers a shred of privacy

BY CSA STAFF

BOCA RATON, Fla. — The small business customer may have a greater reason to visit Office Depot now that the retailer has expanded its shredding and secure document archiving service program through a new partnership with information management company, Iron Mountain.

The company is offering shredding services at the rate of 99 cents per pound as well as document scanning for a nominal fee, allowing customers to leave the storewith a digital record of their document that was destroyed. Customers with larger volumes of materials for shredding can utilize the shredding drop off service, under which Iron Mountain picks up the items directly from Office Depot for shredding. Furthermore, businesses with larger needs can visit their nearest Office Depot store toschedule the business shredding service and pick up boxes that will hold up to 35 pounds each of materials.

“Shredding has become a personal and business necessity in order to be protected from financial loss, identity theft, and more,” said Kristin Micalizio, VP Office Depot’s Copy & Print Depot. “Whether a customer chooses to visit one of our more than 1,100 stores or have Iron Mountain come directly to their place of business, this new agreement allows us to provide Office Depot customers with a number of safe and secure shredding options.”

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