DEVELOPMENT/REDEVELOPMENT

Lubbock super-regional mall introduces improvements

BY Al Urbanski

The South Plains Mall in Lubbock, a dominant retail center in the Texas Panhandle for 40 years, this week unveils a series of updates for customers.

The Macerich-owned mall has redesigned all three of its entrances, added new flooring and lighting throughout the building, and introduced amenities including center-wide Wi-Fi, charging stations, soft seating, and new restrooms.

A Nov. 22 “re-opening” of the mall will be held in the newly renovated Grand Court, featuring an appearance by Santa, local dignitaries, and live entertainment.

"Macerich's continued investment in this unique property reflects the strength of this market and positions South Plains Mall as a top retail property for years to come," said Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope.

The million-plus-sq.-ft. mall houses more than 150 retailers, led by Dillard’s, J.C. Penney, Sears, Bealls and Premiere Cinemas with IMAX.


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FINANCE

Discounter raises outlook as earnings soar

BY Marianne Wilson

Dollar Tree on Tuesday reported a third-quarter profit that more than doubled compared to last year amid lower merchandise and freight costs. The retailer also lifted its guidance for the fourth quarter.

Dollar Tree’s net income for the quarter, ended Oct. 29, rose to a better-than-expected $171.6 million, or 72 cents a share, up from $81.9 million, or 35 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The prior year included some charges and markdowns related to the Family Dollar business, which Dollar Tree acquired in 2015.

“Our results demonstrated a solid performance in our Dollar Tree segment, continued meaningful progress in our integration of Family Dollar, and our ability to refinance and pre-pay a portion of our outstanding debt in order to reduce future interest costs,” said Dollar Tree CEO Bob Sasser. “After adding back $0.09 per share of expenses related to our debt refinancing, our operating performance of $0.81 per diluted share was near the top end of our third quarter EPS guidance range of $0.76 to $0.82."

Speaking on the chain’s quarterly conference call with analysts, Sasser said he believed Dollar Tree would surpass its target of synergies of $300 million in the three years after the closing of the Family Dollar deal.

Net sales increased 1.1% to $5 billion from $4.95 billion last year, just missing estimates. The prior year’s quarter included sales from 325 Family Dollar stores that were divested following third quarter 2015.

Same-store sales increased 1.7%, on a constant currency basis. The same-store sales growth, which was the chain’s 35th consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales, was driven by increases in comparable customer count and average ticket.

During the quarter, Dollar Tree opened 153 stores, expanded or relocated 39 stores, and closed 10 stores. Additionally, as part of its re-banner initiative, the company opened 42 former Family Dollar store locations as new Dollar Tree stores. Retail selling square footage at the end of the quarter was approximately 112.0 million sq. ft.

Consolidated net sales for full-year 2016 are now expected to range between $20.67 billion and $20.77 billion compared to the company’s previously expected range of $20.69 billion to $20.87 billion. Dollar Tree now anticipates net income per diluted share for full-year 2016 will range between $3.67 and $3.76. This compares to its previous EPS guidance range of $3.67 to $3.82, which did not include the $0.09 per diluted share of expenses related to our debt refinancing incurred in third quarter 2016.

"I am encouraged by our continued progress in building the foundation for a larger, stronger and more profitable Family Dollar business,” said Sasser. “The stores are cleaner, the values are greater and our customer feedback scores regarding merchandise assortments and in-stocks have improved. As a combined organization, we are uniquely positioned to efficiently grow our businesses to better serve more customers in more markets. We are well-positioned and prepared for the upcoming fourth quarter and holiday selling season.”

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Restoration Hardware’s new Seattle showplace

BY Marianne Wilson

Restoration Hardware Holdings continues to expand, opening a 60,000-sq.-ft. store in Seattle at University Village.

The four-level location includes an entire floor dedicated to the retailer’s new RH Modern collection. It also features an interactive “design atelier,” a dedicated 4,000 sq. ft. space that allows customers, designers and architects to conceptualize and customize a home.

“Our vision for RH Seattle is to reimagine the retail experience by blurring the lines between residential and retail, indoors and outdoors, physical and digital, creating a space that is more home than store,” said RH chairman & CEO Gary Friedman.

RH Seattle marks Friedman’s ongoing collaboration with design architect James Gillam of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger.

Conceptualized as a grand-scale, classical contemporary structure filled with fresh air and natural light, RH Seattle features a charcoal-grey Venetian plaster and brick exterior with an expanse of glass-and-steel French doors. As night falls, the building is transformed through dramatic illumination, highlighting its architectural details and landscaping.

The design studio, on the second level, is anchored by four, 10-foot custom tables offering a fully integrated workspace for customers, designers and architects to reimagine one room or an entire home, inside and out. Customers can work with a highly experienced team trained in the RH design ethos to create their ideal spaces.

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