FINANCE

Chase: Book spending rose in Q3

BY Dan Berthiaume

Waterbury, Conn. –- Likely spurred by back-to-school needs, consumers increased their spending on books 13% in the third quarter of 2014 compared to the same quarter the prior year. According to the quarterly Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index quarterly barometer of consumer trends based on aggregated Chase Freedom cardholder spending data, spending at craft stores (up 7%) also rose significantly in the quarter.

Meanwhile, drops in movie theater (-25%) and toy (-10%) purchases were drivers of spending decreases in the same year-over-year period. Grocery spending also experienced a 1% dip compared to the year prior, as consumers may have been deterred by higher food prices brought on by drought across the country.

In other back-to-school-related patterns, the Index shows shoppers stocked up on office supplies (+45%) and consumer electronics (+9%) between July and Aug. 2014. Sporting goods spending rose 8% in that period.

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OPERATIONS

Rent-a-Center volunteers for #RetailFightsEbola effort

BY Dan Berthiaume

Nashville, Tenn. –- Rent-A-Center has offered to pay for the shipping of the first container of relief supplies as part of the #RetailFightsEbola campaign. RetailFightsEbola is a campaign to combat the spread of Ebola in Liberia launched by Retail Orphan Initiative (RetailROI).

The campaign is rallying retailers, manufacturers and individuals to provide much needed medical and hygienic supplies to Liberia.

Rent-A-Center is the first retailer to volunteer, and other retailers, manufacturers, vendors and individuals are needed to provide assistance. In particular, retailers are needed to help donate needed items to ship to Liberia. For more information, click here.

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STORE SPACES

Englewood Construction announces eight new retail and restaurant projects

BY Marianne Wilson

Chicago Englewood Construction’s restaurant and retail groups have recently broken ground on four projects, completed three projects and started work on one expansion project across the country.

In the Chicago area, Englewood’s restaurant group recently broke ground on an 11,265-square-foot, ground-up Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant in Oaklawn, Ill., and an expansion for the popular Purple Pig restaurant on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.

“The restaurant industry remains thriving as consumers continue to crave experiences that can’t be replicated at home,” said William Di Santo, president of Lemont, Ill.-based Englewood Construction. “We are excited to embark on two such high-profile projects in the Chicago area. Cooper’s Hawk brings a refreshing design challenge as the owners strive to create a unique environment and experience in each restaurant they develop. We look forward to making the Oak Lawn restaurant a stand-out location. As for the Purple Pig, our extensive experience on Michigan Avenue and sterling track record with fine-dining restaurant development will serve us well on this build-out project.”

Oak Park, Ill.-based Aria Group will serve as the architect for Cooper’s Hawk. Englewood will work with Chicago based Parachin Design Studios Ltd. on the Purple Pig.

Recently, Englewood also broke ground on two new restaurant projects with national client Darden Restaurants. In Kansas City, Mo., the firm began work on a build-out for the Yard House, in the popular Power & Light District.

In Bridgewater, N.J., Englewood recently broke ground on a 10,913-sq.-ft. ground up Season’s 52 restaurant. Lexington, Ky.-based Roberts Group will serve as architect on the Yard House project and Orlando-based Cuhaci & Peterson Architects will work on Season’s 52.

Englewood Construction’s retail group recently broke ground on a 55,000-sq.-ft. ground-up Hobby Lobby at Seabrook Crossings, a new mall in Seabrook, N.H. Hobby Lobby will be located on an outlet pad and is considered a main anchor for the development.

At Westfield’s Old Orchard mall in Skokie, Ill., Englewood recently completed an Ivivva, a clothing store for active girls from the creators of Lululemon.

The company also completed two Lululemon stores, one in Louisville, Ky. and one at the Roosevelt Collection in Chicago. All three projects were in partnership with construction management firm CMG Services of Edwardsville, Ill.

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