REAL ESTATE

McDonald’s to double China restaurant count by 2013

BY CSA STAFF

Oak Brook, Ill. — McDonald’s Corp. said Wednesday it plans to double the number of its restaurants in China to 2,000 units by 2013.

According to a report by Reuters, the move is part of the hamburger chain’s strategy to speed up expansion in the fastest-growing major economy.

McDonald’s opened its first outlet in Shenzhen 20 years ago, and is now facing fierce competition from Pizza Hut and KFC parent Yum Brands, which has about 3,700 outlets in China.

But McDonald’s has rapidly stepped up expansion, opening 165 new restaurants in China in 2010, with a plan to add up to 200 outlets in 2011.

"China has been the fastest-growing market for McDonald’s worldwide with regard to new restaurant opening," its China CEO Kenneth Chan said. "It took us almost 19 years to reach 1,000 restaurants. We will get our next 1,000 restaurants within three years.”

To help attract more customers, McDonald’s has also begun to update its outlets with a new bright color palette, soft seating and upgraded interiors. Four restaurants in downtown Beijing have gotten a face-lift already, and 80% of its outlets across China will be upgraded by 2013, according to the report.

In addition, half of all new McDonald’s restaurants to be opened in the next three years in China will feature drive-thrus to appeal to China’s increasingly mobile population, Chan said.

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REAL ESTATE

Marshalls to debut in Canada

BY CSA STAFF

Toronto — A report Thursday by the Toronto Star said that Marshalls will open its first Canadian stores in 2011. Four new stores are currently slated to open next year, according to RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, which is handling the market entry for Marshalls.

The first three Marshalls are set to open next spring, according to RioCan president and CEO Ed Sonshine. A fourth store, to be housed in a 50,000-sq.-ft. former nightclub, will not open until later in 2011.

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FINANCE

Office Depot sells Japan business

BY CSA STAFF

Boca Raton, Fla. — Office Depot said Thursday it will sell its Japan business to Japanese distribution company Kakuyasu.

The transaction also includes an agreement for Kakuyasu to license Office Depot’s trade names, obtain sourcing services and continue to support Office Depot’s global customers in Japan. Kakuyasu is one of the fastest growing and leading multichannel businesses in Japan with fiscal-year 2009 sales of $775 million.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Office Depot established operations in Japan in 1996 but has not had any stores in the country since selling them off in 2009.

“We believe the combination of Office Depot’s brand, merchandising and sourcing capabilities, coupled with Kakuyasu’s multi-channel business, distribution network and local expertise, will significantly strengthen our competitive position in this market,” said Charlie Brown, president of the International Division of Office Depot.

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