DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Up Close: Shoppers review the next-generation Apple store

BY Marianne Wilson

Sleek. Minimalist. Innovative. Modern.

Those were among the words used most often by mystery shoppers to describe Apple’s next-generation store, located at Shops of Saddle Creek South in Germantown, Tennessee, a suburb of Memphis.

The shoppers are part of Field Agent, which provides on-location auditing and research via a network of 650,000 “agents” who collect data that can be monitored in real time by its clients. The company deployed several agents to visit and then review the store. The majority of the comments were glowing:

“The store was absolutely fantastic,” said a 27-year-old man. “The huge wall display was really what set this apart from other Apple Stores I have been in. The experience definitely made me want to invest in some newer Apple technology.”

A 47-year-old woman commented: “I think the store is very modern. It fits today's lifestyle well … offers great customer service and a complete Apple experience.”

When asked what they didn’t like about the store, one common complaint emerged: the lack of any exterior signage.

To view Field Agent’s video and photos on the new Apple store click here.

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REAL ESTATE

Department store giant continues to expand outlet store formats

BY Marianne Wilson

Macy’s announced it will open a new Bloomingdale's Outlet store in November 2016 at The Outlets at Orange, in Orange, California.

The 24,000-sq.-ft. store will be the 17th Bloomingdale's Outlet location and offer a range of off-price apparel and accessories for men, women and children.

"Southern California is an important market for Bloomingdale's, and we believe this outlet store will attract new shoppers while broadening our offering to existing Bloomingdale's customers," said Tony Spring, chairman and CEO of Bloomingdale's. "The Outlets at Orange is an attractive and growing center with excellent traffic.”

Bloomingdale's debuted its off-price concept in 2010. It has since grown to include stores in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

While Macy’s has been closing underperforming namesake locations, it has been ramping up its outlet store growth, both for its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s brands. (http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/macys-growing-its-outlet-format)

Macy's operates about 870 stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy's, Bloomingdale's.

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FINANCE

Kroger partnership may provide healthy boost

BY CSA STAFF

The Kroger Co. is making a “meaningful” investment in specialty natural/organic grocery chain Lucky’s Market that could expand the supermarket giant’s product assortment.

Kroger did not disclose the size of its stake in Lucky’s, which is based in Boulder, Colorado, and operates 17 stores in 13 states throughout the Midwest and Southeast U.S. Lucky’s stores average 30,000-sq.-ft. and are laid out to resemble an indoor farmers market, and also offer an assortment of prepared foods.

This strategic partnership is designed to accelerate Lucky’s growth in new and existing markets. It is also intended to combine Kroger’s scale with Luck’s products, practices and techniques. On the Kroger’s end, this bodes well for the community-focused grocery store concept its affiliate Main and Vine recently launched in Gig Harbor, Washington.

In addition, Lucky’s store layout makes it sound like an ideal source for an expanded assortment of organic and natural goods for Kroger’s expanding ClickList click-and-collect service.

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