STORE SPACES

Macy’s to overhaul Eastwood Mall store

BY Staff Writer

Niles, Ohio — Youngstown, Ohio-based Cafaro Co., which owns Eastwood Mall in Niles, Ohio, announced Thursday that anchor Macy’s will begin a multi-million dollar renovation, which will be its first full-store refresh since its opening in 1969.

The renovation to the two-level, 157,000-sq.-ft. Macy’s will include new flooring, ceiling and wall treatments, additional accent lighting and new fixtures. The aisles will be reconfigured to improve flow and sight lines.

The project is slated to launch at the end of June and be completed in time for the holiday season. Macy’s will remain open for business throughout the renovation.

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OPERATIONS

Talbots names senior VP of stores

BY CSA STAFF

Hingham, Mass. — The Talbots said Thursday it has named Lesli Gilbert as senior VP stores, effective June 27.

Gilbert will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of Talbots core retail operations in the United States and Canada, as well as supporting the implementation of the company’s store reimage and rationalization programs. She will report to president and CEO Trudy F. Sullivan.

Gilbert was most recently regional VP East for T-Mobile USA, and, prior to that, was senior director of sales and customer experience at Gap.

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REAL ESTATE

Gap to close 200 U.S. stores, will expand outlets

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Francisco — At an investor conference on Thursday, Gap CEO Glenn Murphy announced the company will close 200 of its 900 U.S. namesake stores even as it expands its outlet presence.

While the company did not identify which stores will close, Gap said the 200 Gap brand closures over the next two years will be accompanied by a push to expand its Gap Outlet and Banana Republic factory chains.

At the Piper Jaffray investor conference, Murphy said he believes the company can recapture operating margins of 13.4%, which it saw in 2010. Operating margins were 8.5% in first quarter 2011.

Murphy also outlined a plan for Gap Inc. to shift from being primarily a specialty retailer in North America to being more of a value player. In addition to closing 200 Gap brand stores, Gap will grow its Gap Outlets to about 250 stores, a net addition of 50 or 60 stores. It will grow its Banana Republic Factory store count to about 150, a net addition of about 40 stores.

"The economic model of Outlet is the highest return on capital and is where customers gravitate," Murphy said in the meeting. "Everywhere around the world there’s a way to put the value expression of the brand."

The Athleta brand is slated for expansion, with 10 stores scheduled to open by year-end 2011 and ready to “explode” the brands’ real estate opportunities in 2012 and beyond, said Murphy.

Murphy also said that he would dramatically reduce the number of vendors with whom Gap works, including working more directly with mills, in an effort to secure better prices and a faster, more flexible pipeline.

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