OPERATIONS

Barneys CEO unveils renovation plans

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Barneys New York CEO Mark Lee said Monday that he has plans to launch a renovation program for existing stores as well as an overhaul to the retailer’s website.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Lee said at a Monday morning breakfast that changes will be substantial, as the retailer has the largest renovation budget for existing stores that Barneys has seen in at least seven years.

Website changes include a Monday launch of a micro-site on Barneys.com called "The Window" which will be updated daily and feature postings about the history and inspiration of Barneys windows, in addition to editorial content about the company’s history and heritage.

Lee took over from Howard Socol, who resigned in 2008.

Barneys recently announced that it was closing stores in Houston, White Plains, N.Y. and in Troy, Mich.

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OPERATIONS

Report: Retailers added more jobs in January

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. — A report released Monday by The Conference Board said that retail employers expanded their work forces in January.

The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index increased 0.2% to 100.5, the highest level in two years. The measure rose 7% from a year earlier.

“Employment growth is poised to accelerate,” Gad Levanon, associate director of macroeconomic research at the Conference Board, said. “Economic data as well as confidence measures have improved, and since employment growth typically lags, we expect larger numbers of jobs to be added back into the economy in coming months.”

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators to forecast short-term hiring trends. On average, the gauge can signal a rebound in hiring as little as three months before the fact and can predict job declines six to nine months in advance, the Conference Board said.

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FINANCE

Regency Centers breaks ground on $10 million retail renovation

BY CSA STAFF

Jacksonville, Fla. — Shopping center owner and developer Regency Centers said Monday that it has broken ground on a $10 million renovation of its Heritage Plaza, a 226,998-sq.-ft. retail center in Irvine, Calif.

The renovation of the Ralph’s-anchored center is scheduled for completion in November 2011.

The transformation will include a new exterior façade, upgraded architectural components, canvas awnings, new landscaping, new monument, building and wayfinding signage, wider pedestrian walkways, and the addition of focused gathering areas with benches, al fresco dining and sidewalk eating areas. The design was created by Nadel Architects and Hirsch & Associates.

Originally designed in the 1970s, Heritage Plaza was acquired by Regency in 1999.

The 44,376-sq.-ft. Ralph’s will undergo interior remodeling in June in conjunction with the center renovation. Heritage Plaza is tenanted by CVS/pharmacy, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Wendy’s, RadioShack and Elephant Bar Restaurant.

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