REAL ESTATE

GGP rolls out back-to-school programs in shopping centers

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago-based General Growth Properties is kicking off back-to-school shopping with two promotional programs – Shop til You Rock and Family Recess.

Shop Til You Rock, a music-inspired mall tour that empowers teens to look and feel like rock stars, is back for its second year. Teens are invited to watch live performances by some of today’s hottest bands, participate in exclusive activities and take advantage of special mall offers, prizes and sweepstakes, including a chance to win valuable shopping sprees and a gaming system.

Shop Til You Rock will travel to 38 GGP malls across the country from July 23 through Sept.10.

Family Recess kicks off back-to-school fun with family-friendly activities, including games, music, special deals, prizes and a chance to win a family vacation for four to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Orlando, Fla. Family Recess travels to 21 GGP malls across the country from Aug. 6 through Sept.10.

The Shop Til You Rock and Family Recess programs also reward shoppers with a $20 mall gift card, while supplies last, when they spend $150 or more during the event. Plus, interactive mall activities include:

  • Center Stage: Center stage features an event emcee/DJ, freeze modeling, as well as games, trivia and a prize wheel.
  • Gaming Station: Teens can experience and play “Just Dance 2.” The interactive station includes discount offers, fan challenges and prizes.
  • “DIY” Station: Kids can customize apparel and hats with a variety of airbrush designs.
  • Band Meet & Greets (exclusively at Shop Til You Rock): Fans get up close and personal with featured bands and have an opportunity to purchase their music and promotional merchandise.
  • Pepsi Refresh Lounge (exclusively at Shop Til You Rock): Teens trade in Pepsi bottle caps to receive a Pepsi branded drawstring bag. Plus, they’ll have a chance to vote for their favorite Pepsi Refresh Project and make a difference.
  • Sierra Mist Natural Putting Challenge (exclusively at Family Recess): Shoppers get to put forth their best putting shot and “hole in one” winners will receive prizes.
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Food inflation to benefit comps in months ahead

BY CSA STAFF

American consumers may not like inflation, but retailers are enjoying the favorable impact rising prices have on their same-store sales calculations. It was evident last month when most retailers reported healthy comp increases, and more of the same could be in store for July as it appears retailers are effectively passing through increased prices to shoppers.

This week, evidence to that effect is provided courtesy of Credit Suisse, which shows retail prices on a basket of 60 items at stores in Dallas and Chicago were up 1% compared with May and up 2.7% compared with the same month the prior year.

The firm again had Walmart as the lowest price retailer with Target next closest at 5% higher, or essentially even for shoppers who pay with their Target branded REDcard.

“Walmart and Target both raised prices (month to month) by 1.1%,” according to Credit Suisse. “Year over year, Walmart raised prices 3.8% and Target raised prices by 3.4%. Target’s price gap versus Walmart decreased slightly from 4.7% to 4.6%.”

Target and Walmart both enjoy a commanding lead over other retailers included in the monthly survey. Walmart’s average price gap relative to other competitors was 17.5%, although that figure is skewed by the inclusion of Target on the low end and chain drug retailers Walgreens and CVS on the high end. The drug chains were 27% higher than Walmart.

“While recent commentary from some companies, notably Dollar General and Walmart, suggest that the lower-end consumers are starting to feel the strain of higher prices, we believe most retailers have been successful in passing through cost inflation and will look to continue to do so,” according to Credit Suisse. “Thus far the pricing environment has remained rational, although the key player to continue watching is Walmart.”

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Walmart breaks new ground in Chicago

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — About a week after announcing it would join First Lady Obama and other retailers in bringing more choices to so-called "food deserts", Walmart announced its official presence in Chicago today with the news that it has begun work on a new supercenter in Chatham. According to the company, the store will give more options to residents of Chicago’s South Side neighborhood while at the same time creatingapproximately 400 jobs. The store, one of nine new locations now planned in the city, is scheduled to open in spring of 2012.

Construction of the Chatham Walmart is managed via a joint venture between Powers & Sons and UJAMAA Construction. According to Jimmy Akintonde, president UJAMAA Construction Inc., more than 350 construction jobs will be created as a result of this project and the selection process will remain inclusive and local.

"Thanks to the support of Alderman Brookins and others, the approval of this store helped pave the way for additional opportunities," said Julie Murphy, SVPWalmart U.S. "Walmart is committed to creating 10,000 new jobs throughout Chicago as well as providing access for all residents to our every day low prices, particularly those residing in underserved areas of the city."

In June 2010, Walmart announced the "Chicago Community Investment Partnership," a five-year plan to open several dozen stores, create approximately 10,000 jobs and 2,000 unionized construction jobs, generate more than $500 million in sales and property taxes and develop charitable partnerships worth $20 million.

Walmart’s plans in the city include the following projects:

  • Supercenter in Pullman at 111th St. and South Doty Ave. (spring 2013)

  • Supercenter in West Chatham at 83rd St. and Stewart Ave. (spring 2012)

  • Walmart Market in the West Loop at West Monroe St. and South Jefferson St. (fall 2011)

  • Walmart Market in West Englewood at West 76th St. and South Ashland Ave. (spring 2012)

  • Walmart Market in Lake View at Broadway and Surf (winter 2012)

  • Walmart Express in West Englewood at South Western Ave. and West 71st St. (winter 2012)

  • Walmart Express in West Chatham at 83rd St. and Stewart Ave. (summer 2011)

  • Walmart Express in River North at Franklin and Chicago Avenues (fall 2011)

  • Walmart Express in Wrigleyville at Broadway and Addison (winter 2011)

Walmart’s expansion in Chicago, along with the support of the Obamas, could prove to be the boost the company needs to gain entry into previously closed off urban markets.

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