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Brookfield readies General Growth bid

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago Just days after the announcement that Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group had made an unsolicited $10 billion bid to acquire Chicago-based General Growth Properties, Canadian property giant Brookfield Asset Management is readying a bid to take a large ownership stake in the mall owner.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, which cited several unidentified sources, Brookfield’s planned bid (which could be unveiled as soon as this week) would allow General Growth to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings as a standalone company, with Brookfield as its largest shareholder. By contrast, Simon’s bid is an all-cash, $9-a-share takeover offer.

Brookfield’s plan, which still is being negotiated, would make it the largest buyer in a massive sale of stock that General Growth plans to undertake to raise capital for emerging from bankruptcy. Brookfield would invest at least $2 billion, according to the report.

Neither Brookfield nor General Growth have commented publicly.

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B&N named top specialty retailer by customer satisfaction survey

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Barnes & Noble announced that it took the top spot among specialty retailers in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), research conducted in the fourth quarter, 2009. According to the company, Barnes & Noble earned a score of 84, above the specialty retail category average of 77.

“We are delighted to receive an industry leading score in the fourth-quarter survey, and we owe it all to our customers. Our customers want and deserve the highest quality customer service, which is what our booksellers strive to deliver every single day,” said Steve Riggio, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble. “People consider Barnes & Noble the ultimate specialty retail destination where they can shop and browse, visit our cafe and enjoy complimentary WiFi, enjoy exclusive in-store content on nook our new eReader device, and meet favorite authors and performers at one of our many community events.”

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Office Depot looks to green up retail stores

BY CSA STAFF

BOCA RATON, Fla. Office Depot announced that the company will pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Commercial Interiors (CI) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for all new Office Depot retail stores, beginning in June. LEED CI is the recognized system for certifying high-performance green interiors that are healthy, productive places to work; are less costly to operate and maintain; and have a reduced environmental footprint.

“As a retailer with store locations opening around the country, we have a great opportunity to make a difference on the overall environmental footprint of today’s businesses,” said Chuck Rubin, president of North American Retail for Office Depot. “Office Depot takes that role very seriously and have therefore decided to LEED CI certify all of our new store locations going forward. We are confident that this initiative will benefit our customers, associates, suppliers and other stakeholders.”

 

According to Rubin, 14 new Office Depot store locations will be LEED CI certified, starting with the company’s newest location in Austin, Texas, which is scheduled to open in June.

 

Office Depot’s LEED CI certified stores will include such sustainable features as skylights for harvesting daylight for 90% of the store, a reflective roof, which features a membrane that helps to prevent absorption of the heat from the sun and keeps the interior of the store much cooler and an in-store recycling center, the company reported.

Yalmaz Siddiqui, director of environmental strategy for Office Depot added, “Office Depot has an environmental strategy to increasingly buy green, be green and sell green. By incorporating a leading green building commitment to this strategy, we will continue to lead our industry, and deliver environmental and economic benefits to our company.”

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