REAL ESTATE

GBT to build Middletown Commons

BY Michael Fickes

Louisville, Ky. — GBT Realty Corp. has closed on the purchase of approximately 32 acres along Shelbyville Road at I-265 for the development of Middletown Commons in Louisville, Ky. Plans call for the first tenants to open in late 2014.

The mixed-use power center will include more than 225,000 sq. ft. of retail space and six outparcels ranging from 0.6 acres to 1.88 acres. According to GBT Realty, total development costs will likely exceed $50 million.

A major sports retailer will anchor the development. Additional signed tenants include Hobby Lobby, Liquor Barn, Rack Room Shoes, Ross Dress for Less, Chick-fil-A and Texas Roadhouse.

“We are 80% leased before starting construction, with a long list of additional tenants for the remaining spaces,” said Fraser Schaufele, VP of leasing and brokerage at GBT.

Construction will begin immediately. GBT will provide development, leasing, construction management and property management services. The development team includes MJM Architects and Gresham Smith and Partners as the project engineers. Louisville Paving & Construction will handle the site work. PNC Bank is providing construction financing.

Middletown Commons is one of two shopping centers GBT is developing in Louisville. The second is Jefferson Commons located on 27 acres next to the Jefferson Mall. Construction there is slated to begin in January.

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News

FSI activity continues to trump digital

BY CSA STAFF

Digital coupons may get all the publicity, but SmartSource isn’t buying the hype as evidenced by what it said was arecord-setting coupon droponSunday, January 5.

Parent company News America Marketing said the Sunday, January 5 edition of its SmartSource publication was thelargest in itshistory with up to three inserts required in some markets to deliver up to 136 pages of coupons.

“’Save more money’ is an almost universal New Year’s resolution,” said News America Marketing EVP Martin Garofalo. “We’re happy that we can help make that resolution possible with a gigantic assortment of coupons delivered right to consumer’s homes through their local newspaper or publication.”

Even with much being written recently about digital couponing trends, coupons contained in free-standing inserts (FSIs) continue to dominate all other forms of distribution, accounting for 88.8% of all coupons distributed in 2012, according to News America Marketing.

Taking into consideration the number of newspapers and publications that carriedSmartSource, on January 5,combined the page count of the issue, there were more than5.7 billion pages of coupons distributed compared to5.3 billion on the same Sunday last year. The Dallas Morning News hadthe most coupons of any publication with a total of 136 pages and an estimated value of $197. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, Phoenix Republic, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times each had more than125 pages of coupons.

“We’ve worked very hard to pack as much value as we possibly can into this date,” said Garofalo. “It’s thanks to our long-lasting relationships with the consumer packaged goods community that we can deliver savings like these right after the holidays when consumers need it most. With total coupon distribution down the past two years, News America Marketing is proud to be bucking the trend with a record-shattering number of coupons in this issue.”

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Disrupting the Store

BY Dan Berthiaume

The store experience isn’t what it used to be. Rapidly developing omnichannel technologies, such as mobile and social, are redefining the very definition of a “store” and what customers can accomplish within.

In addition, retailers can glean more information about consumers using leading-edge technology. For example, indoor location analytics vendor iInside lets retailers track and analyze store traffic using customer mobile devices to provide a host of data on store operations and processes.

Chain Store Age asked three store technology experts to provide a little insight on where the store experience is today and where it is headed tomorrow. Deena Amato-McCoy, retail and consumer markets research analyst for Aberdeen Group; Kathleen Fischer, marketing manager of Boston Retail Partners; and Tom Johnson, retail and consumer practice principal at PwC, all shared their thoughts on how technology is disrupting the store.

Deena Amato-McCoy, Aberdeen Group: “For many retailers, the key to in-store customer engagement means adding a mobile strategy — one that can be utilized by associates as well as shoppers. Giving associates and shoppers instant access to pricing, inventory levels, customer reviews and loyalty programs will make a huge difference for retailers going forward. Add in a mobile checkout experience, either through proprietary handheld units or tablets, or an experience navigated and controlled by shoppers, and retailers will be able to maintain shopper relationships, as well as enable them to engage with the brand and associates, however they are comfortable.”

Kathleen Fischer, Boston Retail Partners: “The store of the future will no longer be just a brick-and-mortar location. The lines have blurred among online, mobile and brick-and-mortar, and new avenues for shopping continue to appear. Indeed, the advent of the 3-D printer will change the shopping experience in the store through the transformation of some retailers into manufacturers as they create products on a ‘onesy’ basis allowing for mass customization using a 3-D printer.

Today’s consumers have the power and capability to shop and help themselves whenever, however and wherever they want, and to move seamlessly across all channels, and the store of the future must cater to this consumer.”

Tom Johnson, PwC: “The expansion of smart devices, free in-store Wi-Fi and emerging near-field communications / Bluetooth low-energy connections are enabling store experience innovation. PwC offers four examples based on insights from our 2013 ‘Global Multichannel Consumer Survey:’

• “Social shopping connects HD cameras, social networks and friends to virtual shopping experiences.

• “Interactive indoor store maps on mobile devices link shopping lists to on-site locations and provide customers with step-by-step directions on how to make a quick path through the store.

• “Store fulfillment centers allow customers to order online, select item(s) from store inventory and pick up at a concierge desk or drive-through.

• “Contextual awareness through smart devices, NFC/BLE, GPS and Wi-Fi allow shoppers to opt in for stock check-in and receive special offers, concierge service or deals in the store. Retailers need to master the leading experience innovation practices to remain competitive in an increasingly digitally enhanced store.”

The store experience is evolving to the point that offering these types of features does not even put retailers ahead of the curve — it merely keeps them from falling behind.

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