REAL ESTATE

New Balance Experience store makes U.S. debut

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — New Balance has opened its first North American Experience Store, in New York City’s Flatiron District. The approximate 4,000-sq.-ft. space is designed to reflect the heritage and spirit of the century-old brand.

The decor features restored original brick walls and floor-to-ceiling columns and pays homage to New Balance’s signature grey while introducing modern day technology-based offerings amidst an evolved red and grey color scheme and vibrant product photography. A two-lane Mondo track runs along one of the store’s perimeter walls and features a sunken-in treadmill for gait/form analysis. A 24-hour projection texture mapping showcases product images and brand videos, as well as real time brand content in four distinct areas of the store.

The store emphasizes the company’s commitment to domestic manufacturing (New Balance is the only athletic brand to continue to manufacture shoes in the United States). Behind a glass-enclosed upfront space, a New Balance associate from the company’s Skowhegan, Maine, manufacturing facility will assemble the No. 880 running shoe. Each pair will be sold in a special ‘Assembled in NYC’ drawstring bag stamped with the date made and edition number. The store will also host a live video feed from the company’s Lawrence, Mass., manufacturing floor during work hours.

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REAL ESTATE

Massmart to increase store count by 8.6%

BY Staff Writer

Johannesburg — Massmart Holdings Ltd., the South African retailer controlled by Wal-Mart Stores, announced Thursday it will up its store counts in fiscal 2012 by 8.6% to 340 stores. The company will open 27 new stores during the period, mostly in South Africa and two in Nigeria.CEO Grant Pattison said the accelerated pace is to keep the company in front of its competitors.

Also on Thursday, Massmart reported an 11.6% rise in total sales for the year ended June 26 to $7.29 billion, and upped its forecast for the remainder of 2011.

"There are some challenges with the global economy and some uncertainty if interest rates will go up or down in South Africa," said Pattison, but "We remain confident we have the right plans in place."

Profit for the period fell to $116.2 million from $156.5 million a year earlier.

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Walgreens exchanges space at Empire State Building

BY Michael Johnson

New York City — Walgreens has renewed its lease on the ground floor of the Empire State Building, and exchanged 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the concourse level to 10,000 sq. ft. on the second floor near the observatory exit elevators, according to a report published by REBusiness Online Thursday.

"The all-glass second-floor store is slated for a first quarter 2012 completion," the report stated. Walgreens’ lease in the Empire State Building is for a 15-year term and totals 18,818 sq. ft.

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