Building With Care
Despite cautious language—“prudent planning,” “strategic thinking,” “proceeding with care”—during interviews with all five of the top developers featured here, 2007 was a robust development year. More than 21 million sq. ft. of new and expanded space was built in 2007, which edged 2006 numbers by 2 million sq. ft., and 2005 by more than 6 million sq. ft.
Some interesting shifts took place in the top five. Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group took the top spot, after two years as first runner-up. Developers Diversified Realty, the No. 1 developer three years running, was fifth in 2007. (Interestingly, 2.8 million sq. ft. garnered the Beachwood, Ohio-based developer first place in the 2004 rankings, but 2.8 million in 2007 put the company in fifth.) And Vestar Development Co., Phoenix, hadn’t appeared in the Chain Store Age rankings since the 2004 list; in 2007, the company was a solid No. 4, with 4.25 million sq. ft. developed.
OfficeMax 1Q sales fall on weak economy
NAPERVILLE, Ill. OfficeMax announced that for its first quarter ended March 29, total sales decreased 5.5% to $2.3 billion compared to the first quarter of 2007. Net income increased in the first quarter of 2008 to $63.3 million, or 81 cents per diluted share, from $58.5 million, or 76 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2007.
OfficeMax Retail segment sales decreased 5.5% to $1.11 billion in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the first quarter of 2007, reflecting a same-store sales decrease of 8.7% partially offset by sales from new stores. Retail same-store sales for the first quarter of 2008 declined across all major product categories due to weaker U.S. consumer and small business spending and the negative impact of the Easter holiday occurring in the first quarter of 2008.
IKEA to open first U.S. manufacturing facility
DANVILLE, Va. IKEA, through its subsidiary Swedwood, announced that it will open its first U.S. furniture manufacturing facility on May 21 in Danville, Va. The 930,000 square-foot Swedwood factory will produce a variety of wood-based IKEA products, the company reported.
“We made excellent progress on construction last year and our installation of equipment and machinery has gone very smoothly,” said Bengt Danielsson, North American president of Swedwood. “Now our primary objective is to complete appropriate operational training for 175 coworkers as well as to ensure a seamless production and packaging process.”