REAL ESTATE

Gap enters Central America

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Gap Inc. is expanding its footprint in Latin America. Leveraging its franchise model, the company has opened its first stores in Panamá and plans to introduce its brands to three additional Latin American countries: Colombia, Uruguay, and Peru.

As part of its existing agreement with Superior Retail Inc., Gap has opened two stores – a Gap and Banana Republic – side by side, in the Albrook Mall in Panamá City – the largest mall in Panamá. The company expects to open three additional stores in Panamá in 2012 – two Gap and one Banana Republic – as part of its agreement with Superior Retail Inc.

In other related developments:

  • Also via its agreement with Superior, Gap expects to open its first stores in Colombia in Bogota, and Medellin, later this year.
  • Through an existing agreement with Komax, Gap Inc. plans to expand its presence in Chile in 2012, opening its first Banana Republic store this summer and two additional Gap stores later this year.
  • Gap Inc. has signed a new agreement with a subsidiary of Neutral to bring Gap to Uruguay in 2012.
  • The company has also signed an agreement with a subsidiary of Komax to bring Gap to Peru in 2013.

“Latin America hosts some of the fastest-growing retail markets in the world with extremely high brand recognition for both Gap and Banana Republic,” said Stefan Laban, managing director of strategic alliances for Gap Inc. “This, combined with the tremendous response to the launch of Gap in Chile, makes us confident there is significant opportunity for our brands in Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay, as well as other countries in the region.”

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REAL ESTATE

Tractor Supply ups its store growth potential

BY Marianne Wilson

Brentwood, Tenn. — Tractor Supply Co. has increased its estimated domestic store growth potential to 2,100 locations from a previously estimated 1,800 stores.

Jim Wright, chairman and CEO, stated: “Over the past four years, we have effectively tested and validated the viability of the Tractor Supply store model in small markets. We are pleased that we are able to generate a comparable rate of return on investment in these markets, which opens up additional growth opportunities for Tractor Supply stores. We believe we have a long runway of growth ahead of us.”

In working toward its expanded goal of 2,100 stores, Tractor Supply will continue to target square footage growth of approximately 8% annually, which has been a “very manageable” growth rate for the company, Wright said.

Also, building on its momentum in fiscal 2011, Tractor Supply increased its long-term operating margin target to 9.5% from its previous target of 8.5%. (The chain’s operating margin was 8.3% in 2011.)

Greg Sandfort, president and COO, stated: “We have achieved record operating margins the past two years as structural changes including our Consumable, Useable, Edible (CUE) strategy, customer acquisition strategy and continuous improvement program have contributed to our strong results. Additionally, we are still in the early stages of executing our strategic gross margin initiatives, which we remain intensely focused on and from which we believe we will continue to gain traction.”

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REAL ESTATE

Bottom Dollar to open eight more stores in New Jersey

BY Marianne Wilson

Salisbury, N.C. — Bottom Dollar Food announced plans to open eight additional stores in New Jersey. The expansion will more than double the number of Bottom Dollar Food stores in the Garden State, with the first two stores opening March 2.

"We have been pleased with customer reaction to our current five stores in New Jersey and we are very excited to continue serving customers at our additional locations in the market," said Bottom Dollar Food president Meg Ham.

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