REAL ESTATE

Fannie May Fine Chocolates in 62-store franchise deal

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Carle Place, N.Y. — 1-800-Flowers.com announced Tuesday the signing of a 45-store franchise development agreement for its Fannie May Fine Chocolates division with GB Chocolates. The agreement calls for 45 new Fannie May franchise stores beginning in December 2011, with all open and operating by year-end 2014.

The first three stores under the agreement are slated to open in Minnesota in time for the Christmas holiday. The agreement provides exclusive development rights for several Midwestern states as well as specific cities in Florida and Ohio.

In addition to the development agreement, GB Chocolates has also acquired 17 existing Fannie May stores from the company. The stores are located in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan.

Financial terms were not released.

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REAL ESTATE

Levin tenant survey: Most are optimistic for the holidays

BY Katherine Boccaccio

North Plainfield, N.J. — Shopping center owner and manager Levin Management Corp., in its annual pre-holiday survey, found that more than a third of its retail tenants predict 2011 sales will be higher than 2010’s, while just 18.9% project a drop in sales for the 2011 holiday season.

The remaining 44.2% expect this year’s holiday sales to mirror last year’s.

The Levin survey, conducted in October and November, explored a number of anticipated trends and comparisons this year among tenants based at its 12.5 million-sq.-ft. retail portfolio in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and throughout the northeast. Some of the findings indicate retailers will continue to offer markdowns to meet demand; inventories are holding steady, and a little more than half said they expect shoppers to spend at a higher rate during the holiday season.

“Although nearly 62% of responders in a 2010 post-holiday survey by Levin reported that 2010 holiday sales actually were lower or the same as 2009, the attitude among retailers in 2011 still is positive,” said Matthew K. Harding, president and COO of Levin Management Corp.

As a catalyst for consumer spending, promotional sale markdowns will match 2010 according to 73% of survey responders. Only 17.9% expect markdowns to be higher, while roughly half that number (9.2%) anticipate lower markdowns.

This year, just 28.4% said their 2011 year-to-date sales were up compared with 2010; 27.4% reported the same level, and 44.1% indicated lower sales. At the corporate level, 36% of those surveyed indicated their companies would be adding stores in 2012, an improvement over the last survey when just 25% of responders said their companies would be adding stores.

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FINANCE

Fred’s Q3 profit rises 16%

BY Staff Writer

Memphis, Tenn. — Discounter Fred’s Inc. reported Tuesday that profit for the third quarter rose 16% to $9 million, compared with $7.8 million a year earlier.

Revenue increased 2% to $444.4 million from $435 million last year, missing Wall Street’s expected $446.5 million in revenue.

Same-store sales rose 1.5%.

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