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Cautious, But Growing

BY Debra Hazel

This year’s Fastest-Growing Acquirers show both the downside and upside of bulk purchases of shopping centers. While Centro Properties Group has repeated as the year’s top acquirer, its purchase of New Plan Excel Realty has plunged the Australian company into financial distress. Other repeat companies are more fortunate: Developers Diversified Realty (which moves up one spot to second place) and The Inland Real Estate Group of Cos. (down one spot to fifth) both have made significant acquisitions and remain strong.

The industry’s largest players fill out the list: Simon Property Group (third) and General Growth Properties (fourth), which took very different methods to achieve their rankings.

But what will happen this year is anyone’s guess, as financing remains difficult.

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OfficeMax 1Q sales fall on weak economy

BY CSA STAFF

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.

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IKEA to open first U.S. manufacturing facility

BY CSA STAFF

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. 

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