REAL ESTATE

GNC opens first standalone China store

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pittsburgh — GNC Holdings Inc. on Monday opens its first freestanding store in China. The store, located in the Raffles City complex in Shanghai, is the first of about 25 standalone stores GNC plans to open in China during the next 12 months.

GNC has had a retail presence in China for the past two years through more than 60 store-within-a-store locations within eight different major grocery, convenience and health-and-wellness chains in China, including Ole, City Super, Sam’s Club and Watson’s. The retailer also sells products to Chinese consumers online through partnerships with e-commerce sites including Tmall, Amazon and 360buy, and runs an office and distribution center in Shanghai.

"In only two years, the GNC brand has developed strong acceptance among Chinese consumers,” said Joseph Fortunato, chairman, president and CEO of GNC. “GNC will continue to expand our retail store presence in this dynamic and fast-growing market, and we are excited about finding new opportunities to address the needs of China’s many health & wellness consumers with new and innovative products."

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FINANCE

Report: Starwood Capital joins bidding for Saks

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — Starwood Capital Group LLC, the investment firm headed by real estate developer Barry Sternlicht, has joined the bidding for Saks Inc., according to a report by the New York Post. Starwood Capital invests in retail, office and residential real estate.

The bid by Starwood is worth about $2.5 billion, or $17-$18 per share, according to the report. The amount is roughly equal to a previously existing bid from Canadian retail conglomerate Hudson’s Bay, which also owns the Lord & Taylor department store chain.

The New York Post reports a third bidder, most likely a sovereign-wealth fund from the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, is also in the running to purchase Saks.

Sternlicht may be the preferred bidder of Saks ownership because he would let CEO Steve Sadove retain his position, according to the report. Saks has not commented publicly on the Sternlicht bid.

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REAL ESTATE

The Outlet Collection | Seattle adds retailers

BY Michael Fickes

Columbus, Ohio — Glimcher Realty Trust has released the tenant list for The Outlet Collection | Seattle, which is nearing completion of a major, $35 million renovation. The renovation is transforming the center into a designer fashion outlet mall.

The tenant list includes several retailers new to center. They are Coach, Nike, Michael Kors, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, Loft Outlet, H&M and Sketchers.

When the renovation wraps up, the center will be 94% occupied with more than 100,000 sq. ft. of new outlet retail brands. A grand re-opening will take place Oct. 17.

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