STORE SPACES

Disney to open Cinderella-inspired Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Harrods

BY Marianne Wilson

London — Disney U.K. is teaming up with Harrods to open a Cinderella-inspired "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique" at the world famous department store, marking the first time that a Disney Parks and Resorts concept has been recreated in the United Kingdom. The boutique will be the centerpiece of partnership between Disney and Harrods that also includes a dedicated Disney Store, which opened on Nov. 1. .

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, which will open Nov. 25, has been reimagined for Harrods, with the help of Walt Disney Imagineering,to create the ultimate immersive storytelling experience for children aged 3-12. The boutique is set in a fairytale castle enclosed within Harrods. Children are met by their very own Fairy Godmother-in-Training to learn the qualities needed to become Princesses or Knights and take a royal oath while enjoying the ultimate fantasy makeover.

“The Boutique lets children step in to the world of classic Disney characters, celebrate the qualities like kindness and bravery that make them true heroes and heroines, and be transformed as Cinderella was in the famous Fairy Godmother scene from the movie,” said Anna Hill, VP, The Walt Disney Company, U.K. and Ireland. “We hope the experience will create memories that families can enjoy for a lifetime.”

Building on the success of last year’s pop-up shop, the partnership also includes the launch of a dedicated Disney Store at Harrods, which opened Nov. 1, offering shoppers exclusive themed products in a magical Disney-themed environment that includes a themed café.

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REAL ESTATE

Survey forecasts early holiday shopping and uptick in 2014 store openings

BY Marianne Wilson

North Plainfield, N.J. — Forty-three percent of respondents to Levin Management’s annual pre-holiday retail sentiment survey believe that their holiday sales will peak prior to and during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend sales period. In other notable results, 43.6% of respondents’ companies plan to open new stores in 2014 – a significant jump from 23% in last year’s pre-holiday poll and 35.9% the previous year.

“The percentage of respondents with expansion plans is very good news,” said Matthew K. Harding, president, Levin Management.

During October, the North Plainfield-based retail real estate services firm polled store managers within its 90-property, 12.5 million-sq.-ft. shopping center portfolio on this and other topics related to the upcoming holiday season, e-commerce, year-to-date sales and more.

“It appears that last year’s Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend performance has retailers bullish about this year’s early shopping potential,” said Harding. “Interestingly, the percentage of respondents who believe that sales will peak later – during the weekend before Christmas – dropped significantly year over year, from 29.2% In our 2012 pre-holiday survey to 13.5% in our latest poll.”

Other findings of the survey include:

  • More than three-quarters (77.5%) of respondents overall indicated that they will be bringing in as much as or more inventory than last year. In the 2012 pre-holiday survey, a smaller 68.0% planned to increase their holiday season stock compared to 2011. A larger 85.7% of respondents in the clothing/shoes/accessories segment – a traditional holiday shopping category – indicated that they will be bringing in as much as or more inventory than last season.
  • Retailers’ embrace of social media for technology-based marketing continues to gain ground. Nearly all (97.8%) of the Levin Management survey respondents have a presence on Facebook (up from 81.5% last year). Twitter remains the second most popular, used by 48.9% of respondents (up from 26.2% one year ago).

“While Facebook and Twitter continue to dominate the social media space, Instagram may be the next big social platform for retail marketing, according to Harding.

“The number of survey respondents using the popular photo- and video-sharing site jumped from just over 3.1% last year to an impressive 26.1% today,” he said.

Levin Management is one of the nation’s leading retail real estate services firms, with a strong focus in the northeastern United States.

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ENERGY/HVAC

Ikea becomes largest retail wind energy investor in Canada

BY Marianne Wilson

Burlington, Ontario — Ikea Canada announced it has purchased a 46 megawatt wind farm in Pincher Creek, Alberta. The 20-turbine wind farm will be the largest owned by a Canadian retailer and is expected to generate 161 gigawatt hours (GWh) each year, which is more than double the total energy consumption of Ikea Canada. The project is currently being constructed by global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power and is expected to be fully operational in fall 2014.

"Ikea Canada’s investment in renewable energy is a win-win-win. We are able to support the transition to a low-carbon future, reduce our energy and operating costs, and pass those benefits on to our customers by continuing to offer high quality home furnishings at low prices," says Kerri Molinaro, president of Ikea Canada. "This wind farm in Alberta, along with existing solar installations at three of our Ontario stores, is a significant step to achieving Ikea’s global ambition to be energy independent by 2020, producing more renewable energy than we consume."

The wind farm’s expected annual production of 161 GWh is equivalent to:

  • Thirty-two Ikea stores’ electricity consumption;
  • Sixty percent of Ikea Group electricity consumption in North America;
  • Eight percent of Ikea Group electricity consumption worldwide; and
  • 13,500 average Canadian households’ electricity consumption.

The 20 turbines to be erected are Siemens’ model SWT-2.3-101, 2.3 MW turbines with a rotor diameter of 101 meters, a hub height of 80 meters and blade length of 49 meters. While the wind farm will be owned fully by Ikea Canada it has been developed, is being constructed, and will be operated by Mainstream Renewable Power. The turbines will be located in the municipality of Pincher Creek, approximately 215 KMs south of Calgary. The power generated will be delivered onto Alberta’s energy grid, thereby increasing the availability of renewable energy to a growing energy market.

The Ikea Group has now committed to own 157 wind turbines worldwide and has installed over 500,000 solar panels on its buildings in nine countries. To date, the company has invested in wind farms in seven other markets: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

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