REAL ESTATE

Bridgestone Retail continues to expand

BY Marianne Wilson

BLOOMINGDALE, Ill. —Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO) continues to grow its network of tire and automotive service centers across the United States, with a projected total of 45 new retail locations this year. The company currently owns and operates a total of 2,222 stores.

“We started strong in the first quarter and into the second, and our plans are to keep that momentum going through the rest of 2013,” said Jim Blecha, VP of real estate and assets, BSRO. “In terms of company-owned tire and automotive service centers, we’re the largest in our industry, and in the world. It’s important to us to expand our network, but even more important that we do it strategically, in a way that makes sense for our business and that will best serve the needs of our customers.”

All locations will offer a variety of automotive services and products, including new tires and batteries, vehicle inspections, oil changes, alignments, A/C services, brake work, engine repair and tune-up, transmission service and more.

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REAL ESTATE

Starbucks to prohibit smoking within 25 feet of its sites

BY Marianne Wilson

Starbucks Coffee Company is extending its indoor no-smoking policy to the outdoors. The company will prohibit anyone up to 25 feet from a Starbucks store from smoking, effective June 1, where permitted by its leases.

The new rule will apply to the 7,000 shops owned and operated by Starbucks Corp., regardless of whether they have outdoor seating areas.

With regards to a customer who might be smoking within the restricted area, Starbucks spokeswoman Jaime Lynn Riley said, "If there were any concerns, we would hope to resolve it amicably," the Associated Press reported.

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REAL ESTATE

Michael Kors to add 50 stores in North America

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. is on a roll. The white-hot luxury fashion and accessories company plans to open up to 50 stores in North America in its current fiscal year, plus additional units in Europe and the Far East. Michael Kors currently has 44 stores in Europe, with another 40 planned for its new fiscal year.

“Given how strongly our brand has performed in the market, how well it resonates with European consumers . . . we have concluded that the retail store growth potential is greater than the hundred locations we initially targeted [in Europe],” CEO John Idol said during a conference call with investors.

On Wednesday, Michael Kors reported that its profit more than doubled on surging sales in the fourth quarter, ended March 30, topping another strong year for the company. Net income was $101.1 million, up from $43.6 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue jumped 57% to $597.1 million.

For the year ended March 30, net income nearly tripled to $397.6 million from $147.4 million a year ago.

Revenue surged 67% to $2.18 billion for the year from $1.3 billion. Same-store sales rose 35% in North America.

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