FINANCE

ICSC forecasts back-to-school sales up 3%

BY Staff Writer

New York City — The International Council of Shopping Centers is forecasting an increase of 3% to $39 billion in total sales over the three-month back-to-school shopping season.

According to ICSC on Thursday, sales for the back-to-school season — typically the second-largest driver of the year — are predicted to be healthy.

“The 2011 retail environment is a bit different from 2010 and while we expect this year to be slightly more moderate than last, the overall message from this projection is that sales are still likely to be quite healthy,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist and director of research for ICSC. “While there have been some marginal improvements in both consumer confidence and the unemployment rate, compared to the lead-in to the 2010 back-to-school season, the rise in cotton prices has lead to increased prices on apparel, a key category in back-to-school spending.”

The Commerce Department has segmented retail back-to-school sales categories as family clothing, shoes, electronics and books. According to ICSC’s forecast, in 2011 family clothing and shoes will be the strongest performing segments, posting 3.5% gains, while books will be the weakest segment with a 1.5% increase.

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FINANCE

PriceSmart profit, sales up in Q3

BY Staff Writer

San Diego — Warehouse club operator PriceSmart reported Thursday that net income for the quarter ended May 31 rose to $16.3 million, compared with $12 million in the year-ago period.

Sales surged 23.6% to $421.6 million, from $341.2 million.

The company had previously announced it acquired 131,524 sq. ft. of land in Cali, Colombia, upon which it will build its second warehouse club in Colombia.

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STORE SPACES

Texas mall receives LEED Silver designation

BY Staff Writer

Corpus Christi, Texas — Trademark Property said Thursday that its La Palmera shopping center has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver for Core and Shell 2.0 established by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Acquired in partnership with International Mall Investors in July 2008, the 1-million-sq.-ft. regional mall located in Corpus Christi is the first in the U.S. to receive the designation.

“We are very pleased to receive LEED Silver certification for La Palmera,” said Trademark Property chairman-CEO Terry Montesi. “This means that, in addition to aesthetic changes, the redevelopment design also reduces the mall’s impact on the environment through improved water and energy efficiency, and higher indoor air quality for shoppers and tenants. The plans we put into place benefit everyone.”

As part of its requirements for LEED certification, La Palmera has developed a “green” tour showcasing the various LEED efforts incorporated into the mall and highlighting their benefits. Signage has been installed throughout the property to educate guests on the mall’s green efforts.

La Palmera is anchored by Dillard’s, J.C. Penney and Macy’s. It is the first mall to be certified LEED-CS Silver by the U.S. Green Building Council. Following a $50 million renovation, the mall features a new outdoor main entrance featuring P.F. Chang’s and Grimaldi’s, 600-seat food court with a 4,500-gallon feature aquarium and a children’s ocean-themed play area.

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