OPERATIONS

FrontStreet Facility Solutions names VP of operations

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bohemia, N.Y. — FrontStreet Facility Solutions announced that Brian French will join the executive leadership team as VP of operations. French is the former president of Cairn Development.

With more than 23 years of experience in store development, French is a proven leader in retail services and devising business growth strategies. French has executed multi-faceted projects for premier retailers Uniqlo, Chico’s, United Retail Group and Victoria’s Secret. He has also directed the design, planning and institution of stores for Warner Bros. Worldwide and Burch Capital Creative.

"Brian brings the ideal professional combination of expertise and commitment to support our company growth well into the future,” Kris Bunnell, FrontStreet CEO said. “His experience with industry-leading retail brands and dedication to quality service execution will enhance our operational scale, while maintaining a singular focus on customer needs.”

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FINANCE

PECO NNN buys Family Dollar, Raising Cane’s locations

BY Dan Berthiaume

Salt Lake City — PECO Net Lease Income Fund (NLIF) has acquired four properties including two Family Dollar stores in New Mexico and two Raising Cane’s restaurants, including one in Lexington, Ky., and one in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

"These acquisitions continue our overall strategy to acquire well positioned retail assets with geographic and industry diversification," said Jim Shipman, VP for PECO NNN Development, LLC; manager of the NLIF. "The acquisitions provide long-term leases and excellent value-add opportunity, while also enabling us to continue our monthly dividend to our investors."

The acquisition of the four properties brings the total portfolio to over $33 million in assets comprised of 15 properties located in 12 states.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Study: Omnichannel shopping varies by category and country; most prevalent in U.S.

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Shoppers in the United States are most likely to combine online and in-person sources when buying consumer electronics (70%), toys (66%), apparel (58%), and home appliances (57%), according to a new study by Gfk. At the low end of the omnichannel spectrum in the United States are cleaning products (14%), OTC medications (15%), and food and beverages (15%).

The study shows that, across 12 categories, 37% of U.S. shoppers – and 29% globally – are turning to both online and in-store shopping when making purchases.

“Retailers need to embrace and market to shoppers’ fast-changing habits and preferences, providing a well calibrated mix of information, service, and promotion,” said Alison Chaltas, executive VP of shopper and retail strategy at GfK. “It is also essential to have a unified message and brand across platforms. The holy grail in this new environment will be creating an integrated and consistent message to shoppers that you are ready to serve them wherever they go – in store, online, and along the way.”

Shoppers in the United States cited logical reasons for choosing the in-store experience: “Lets me see and feel products” (cited by 64% of omnichannel shoppers) and “Can get products sooner” (63%) were selected most often. By contrast, factors driving online shopping were almost completely different – with “saves money” and “saves gas money” tied (63% each) as most mentioned.

“We clearly see that brick-and-mortar stores still matter for a variety of items,” said Joe Beier, executive VP of shopper and retail strategy at GfK. “But the role of stores in the shopping and buying experience is changing dramatically. Retailers need to find new and different ways to draw people in, through value-added services and a truly shopper-centric experience.”

Across the globe, one third (33%) of all shoppers report using a cell phone during a store visit to research prices; and roughly two in ten (19%) have actually purchased something with a smartphone while visiting a retail outlet. Half of all global shoppers have found a product online using a tablet, and 42% have made a purchase with a tablet.

The survey also revealed that online shopping habits vary widely by category. In consumer electronics, for example, the United States has by far the highest level of omni-channel behavior (70%); Chile is a distant second (56%), and the global average is 46%. In beauty and personal care, however, China is the global leader (57%), with the U.S. tied for fifth with Bulgaria and Romania (all at 31%).

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