REAL ESTATE

Kidlandia opens FAO Schwarz boutique

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Kidlandia, a company that enables children to create such personalized items as maps, kingdoms and family trees, has opened its first in-store boutique at FAO Schwarz in Midtown Manhattan.

Working with a dedicated FAO Schwarz associate, children and their families can use the Kidlandia Kiosk, which utilizes hardware provided by HP, to create their own personalized kingdom. Customers can select from Kidlandia’s own map designs, or choose a map featuring popular characters from Disney and Nickelodeon. Each map will be designated the land of the child’s name provided, and for further personalization, other names of family and friends can be added, which then become the names of locations on the map.

In addition, as an exclusive to FAO Schwarz, guests can select a map of Manhattan and use it as a way to remember their trip.

The Kidlandia Personalization Boutique will offer 24 x 18-in. Kidlandia fine art prints that will be packaged in a travel-friendly tube for the customer, the company reported.

“2011 will be a monumental year for Kidlandia,” said Kidlandia CEO Brian Backus. “The company was born to give every child their own kingdom to rule. All these exciting new initiatives and products are certain to entertain, educate, and delight kids and parents, and also capture important moments in a highly personalized gift.”

Kidlandia also has an online retail presence with Disney Store, Pottery Barn and Gilte Group. The company said it is developing other relationships with brick-and-mortar retailers.

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FINANCE

Home Depot commits to helping weather-impacted communities

BY CSA STAFF

Atlanta — The Home Depot Foundation announced that it has created a $1 million weather impact fund to aid relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts in response to the recent storms throughout the Southeast and Midwest United States, and in expectation of continuing violent storms throughout the spring season.

As a part of this commitment, The Home Depot Foundation said it is donating $250,000 to the American Red Cross for immediate relief needs in response to yesterday’s tornadoes and storms that caused serious damage through the Southeast. Throughout the month, the Foundation has been responding with donations to nonprofits that are assisting communities affected by recent severe weather in St. Louis, southern Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. Future funding will be deployed to local stores, communities and nonprofits as needed.

"This spring has seen an extraordinary spate of storms and tornadoes that have devastated many parts of the country, and at this early stage of the season, it’s likely to be one of the worst springs in history in terms of storm damage and destruction. We are a part of these communities and it is our responsibility to help -– not only with the needs today, but as these communities start rebuilding," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO of The Home Depot.

In addition to funding, Team Depot, the company’s associate-led volunteer force, has been mobilized locally to help with relief and recovery efforts, Home Depot reported.

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FINANCE

Ingles Markets reports positive Q2 earnings

BY CSA STAFF

Asheville, N.C. — Net sales and net income for Ingles Markets realized a 4% and 38% increase, respectively, during the second quarter ended March 26, the retailer announced Friday.

Ingles reported that second-quarter net sales rose $33.4 million to $870.4 million, while second-quarter net income increased from $5.6 million to $7.7 million.

Excluding gasoline, total sales increased 2.4% and grocery segment comparable-store sales increased 1.9%, compared with the second quarter of the prior fiscal year. The number of customer transactions (excluding gasoline) increased 0.8%, while the comparable average transaction size increased 1.5%, compared with the same quarter last year.

For the first six months of fiscal 2011, net sales rose 3.9% to $1.74 billion and net income increased 32.4% to $15.4 million, compared with the first six months of fiscal 2010.

During the March 2011 six-month period, Ingles opened one new store and three remodeled stores.

Commenting on the financial results, Ingles Markets CEO Robert Ingle II said the second-quarter results were a "testament to the legacy" of the company’s founder, Robert Ingle, who passed away March 6.

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