REAL ESTATE

Hobby Lobby expands at Bernard Court

BY CSA STAFF

Jonesboro, Ark. Hobby Lobby has inked a deal for an early renewal and 10,000-sq.-ft. lease expansion at Bernard Court Shopping Center in Jonesboro, Ark. According to national property owner Stonemar Properties, the 62,000-sq.-ft. space is part of a vacant Goody’s Family Clothing location.

“We are pleased that Hobby Lobby will maintain and increase their presence at Bernard Court,” said Jonathan Gould, CEO of Stonemar. “Our other anchor tenant, Shoe Carnival, recently exercised a five-year option on 12,000 sq. ft., which further shows this is a desirable location despite the tough economic climate.”

According to the terms of the Hobby Lobby transaction, the crafts store agreed to extend its original 18-year lease, due to expire in 2011, by an additional 13 years to 2024 with an additional five-year option.  In consideration for the early renewal, extension and expansion, both parties agreed on a substantial per-year rent increase beginning in 2009. The total deal value was not disclosed.

Hobby Lobby will expand into an additional 10,000 sq. ft. of space recently vacated by Goody’s Family Clothing, which had been in bankruptcy and began liquidating in January. Hobby Lobby has agreed to renovate the space at its own expense.

Hobby Lobby’s expansion still leaves vacant about 25,000 sq. ft. of former Goody’s space. Stonemar has begun marketing the vacant space and has received preliminary interest from several nationally recognized retailers, Gould said.

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Survey reveals theft still a top concern for retailers

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON According to NRF’s fifth annual Organized Retail Crime survey, nine out of ten retailers (92%) report that their companies were victims of organized retail crime during the past year, up 8% from 2008. Nearly three-fourths (73%) of retailers also reported the level of organized retail crime activity has increased over the past 12 months, an increase of 11% from 2008.

“The unfortunate economic events of the past year have played an intricate role in how criminals continue to rip off the retail industry,” said Joe LaRocca, NRF senior asset protection advisor. “Organized retail crime rings have realized that tough economic times present new business opportunities by stealing valuable items from retailers and turning around to sell the merchandise to consumers looking for bargains.”

Even with the economy forcing retailers to cut staff and do more with less, 42% of retailers say their company is allocating additional resources to address organized retail crime. According to the survey, the average retailer spends approximately $215,000 annually just on labor costs to fight organized retail crime. Some retailers surveyed spend far more, with 6% of respondents spending more than $1 million dollars a year to employ loss prevention executives devoted to organized retail crime.

Thanks to the new partnerships formed with Federal and local law enforcement officials, retailers have had some success identifying stolen merchandise or gift cards at physical fence locations such as pawn shops and temporary stores (60%) and through online e-fencing operations (60%), where stolen merchandise is sold through online auction sites.

 

When asked how they would rank organized retail crime as a threat to their company, nearly one-third (29%) of retailers gave organized retail crime a “four” or “five” rating, identifying the problem as severe or significant. On average, retailers gave organized retail crime a rating of 2.87 on a five-point scale.

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Toys’R’Us sees increase in 1Q operating earnings

BY CSA STAFF

WAYNE, N.J. Toys”R”Us reported that operating earnings for first quarter of fiscal 2009 increased to $21 million from $2 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008. The net loss was $35 million, compared to $36 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008.

“Our first quarter results speak to the strengths of our business strategy and reflect our discipline as an organization in delivering results, protecting margin, and rigorously controlling expenses,” said Jerry Storch, chairman and CEO of Toys“R”Us.

 

Net sales during the first quarter of fiscal 2009 were $2.477 billion versus $2.719 billion for fiscal 2008.

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