REAL ESTATE

Fort Worth mall embarks on a new voyage

BY CSA STAFF

“Ridgmar…has always had a good regional location, and that’s not something to give up on,” Weitzman broker Bob Young told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

A fixture in the central Texas city since the 1970s, Ridgmar Mall is is replacing shuttered Neiman Marcus and Macy anchors with a SeaQuest Aquarium in an attempt to escape the fate of two other malls that have closed in Tarrant County: North Hills Mall in North Richland Hills and Six Flags Mall in Arlington.

The Star-Telegram reported that nearly 40% of Ridgmar’s storefronts were empty (19 of 50 stores on the second floor). Dillard’s remains, but it has closed its first floor and converted its second floor into a space for clearance-only racks.

Ridgmar owner GK Dev elopement hopes that SeaQuest — which lets visitors don wetsuits and get in the tanks with sharks and stingrays — will prove a steady traffic draw at the location. The company has also invested some $3 million to renovate the Cinemark Ridgmar 13 and XD. One hopeful sign: H&M opened its third Tarrant Count store there recently.

At Ridgmar Mall we’re just part of phase one,” said SeaQuest spokesperson Alui Hernandez. “Ridgmar Mall in a couple of years is going to be a really cool place to go.”

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FINANCE

QVC to acquire its biggest rival in $2 billion-plus deal

BY Marianne Wilson

In a deal that will bring together two longtime home shopping rivals, QVC is acquiring the Home Shopping Network.

Liberty Interactive Corp., owner of QVC, currently owns 38.2% of HSN parent HSNi. Under the agreement announced Thursday, Liberty will acquire the remaining 61.8% stake, making HSNi a wholly-owned subsidiary. The all-stock transaction has an enterprise value of $2.6 billion.

"The addition of HSN will enhance QVC’s position as the leading global video e-commerce retailer," said Greg Maffei, president and CEO, Liberty Interactive. "Every year they together produce over 55,000 hours of shoppable video content and have strong positions on multiple linear channels and OTT platforms."

Both QVC and HSN have been challenged in recent years amid a decline in traditional TV viewership and the rise of online shopping. Combing the two companies will allow them to benefit from economics of scale, cut costs and compete better against such retail giants as Amazon and Walmart. The two companies together will rank as the third largest mobile and e-commerce retailer in North America, according to QVC.

HSNi consists of HSN and Cornerstone, whose retail brands include Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, Grandin Road and Improvements. Post-closing, HSNi headquarters will remain in St. Petersburg and will be overseen by Mike George, president and CEO of QVC.

Once the deal is completed, Liberty Interactive plans to spin off its nonretail assets and rebrand the remaining operations as the QVC Group, the New York Times reported. It will be comprised of QVC, HSN and flash sale site Zulily, which will all remain standalone brands under the QVC Group umbrella. The combined company is expected to have approximately $14 billion in revenue.

The deal comes on the heels of the departure in May of HSN CEO Mindy Grossman, who left the company after 11 years to become president and CEO of Weight Watchers International.

"Joining the QVC Group will give us instant access to global consumer markets, a leadership team with deep expertise and a global perspective, and the opportunity to further strengthen our content-based brand portfolios in a changing retail landscape,” said Arthur C. Martinez, chairman, HSNI. “We have both been innovators in a growing and dynamic retail environment with a unique vision of what shopping should be, and as new technologies continue to change our everyday lives, together we can develop the next generation of shopping for the next generation of consumers.”

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C-SUITE

Former Target merchandising exec joins specialty coffee retailer

BY Marianne Wilson

A Target veteran has joined the leadership team of Caribou Coffee.

John Butcher, who most recently served as senior VP merchandising: beauty and DermStore, has been tapped as president of Caribou Coffee. Butcher joined Target in 1997, working his way up through the ranks serving in various operations and merchandising roles, including serving as VP and general merchandise manager, electronics.

He was named to his most recent position in 2016, after having served as senior VP, category roles. Butcher left Target in June amid a major restructuring of the chain's merchandising division.

Based in Minneapolis, Caribou Coffee is the second largest company-operated premium coffeehouse in the United States. It has more than 400 domestic locations in 18 states and 200 international franchise stores in 10 countries.

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