REAL ESTATE

New tenants announced for East Peoria Downtown

BY Staff Writer

Peoria, Ill. — Cullinan Properties, developer of the East Peoria Downtown shopping center, hosted a ceremonial ‘Steel Raising’ event last week to mark the development of the Peoria project.

Joining Target and Costco at the center will be Ulta Beauty with an 11,000-sq.-ft. store adjacent to Target, and Gordmans, which has leased a 50,000-sq.-ft. space slated to open in early 2013.

The East Peoria downtown Shopping Center is scheduled to open March 2013. The expanded downtown district will also be home to a new 137-room Holiday Inn conference center, a 32,000-sq.-ft. Fondulac District Library, and a 54,000-sq.-ft. Hometown Community Bank.

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Better BTS promotions offered by retailers this year

BY CSA STAFF

LOS ANGELES — Nearly half of consumers polled in the latest PriceGrabber survey respondents said that retailers are serving up better back-to-school promotions this year, compared with 2011.

Polling responses from 2,745 U.S. online shopping consumers — with 1,000 of the respondents planning to shop this back-to-school season — PriceGrabber said that while 48% agreed that this year’s promotions are better than last year’s, 88% of consumers chose "sales" as the top retailer promotion that will entice them to make a back-to-school purchase this year; 39% of shoppers cited coupons; 44% noted that "free items with purchase" would persuade them to buy; and 34% selected sales available online only. The best deals are being offered on school supplies (67%), clothing (58%), electronics (i.e., computers, tablets and smartphones) ranked third at 32%, tote bags (30%) and books (15%).

Where are consumers scoring the best deals? PriceGrabber found at one-third (34%) said the best back-to-school deals are online, 22% cited brick-and-mortar stores and 44% said they found the deals to be the same. When asked how they plan to purchase back-to-school items this year, 60% of consumers said in stores and 40% selected online.

"The start of the back-to-school shopping season has been very competitive with retailers offering aggressive promotions to win the consumer dollar," PriceGrabber general manager Graham Jones said. "We anticipate retailers will continue to offer very strong promotions and incentives through the remainder of August and even into September as kids start the school year."

Additional findings included:

  • 67% selected large, multichannel department stores as the type of stores they plan to shop at for back-to-school items, followed by online retailers;

  • 54% of respondents said they plan to shop at discount retail outlet stores; and

  • One-quarter of survey respondents said they have been lured into brick-and-mortar stores due to back-to-school sales and promotions for items under $1. Of those respondents, 48% said that once they got into the store they also purchased additional back-to-school items that were not on sale.

"Shoppers continue to look for the best deals and ways to get the most value from every dollar they spend on back-to-school items," Jones said. "Retailers with aggressive online and in store promotions in August will be better positioned to capture sales during this shopping season."

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Art students give fresh look to Hershey’s Pot of Gold

BY CSA STAFF

HERSHEY, Pa. and SAN FRANCISCO — The Hershey Company recently partnered with the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Calif. to provide students with a hands-on package-design opportunity. Students were asked to create a customized heart box design for Hershey’s Pot of Gold chocolates to help give the collection a contemporary, fresh look for the 2013 Valentine’s Day season. After consumer testing, the top student package designs were selected for production and will be featured on-shelf during the 2013 Valentine’s Day season. In recognition of the school’s efforts, The Hershey Company also donated $20,000 to the Academy of Art University for the creation of the Hershey Design Excellence Award.

"Packaging is such an important part of any brand experience and we are excited to be able to inspire creativity in students and showcase student-designed work on-shelf," said Moira Cullen, senior director of global design for The Hershey Company. "We are looking forward to helping foster the development of current and future designers by providing a series of scholarships to the school."

Thirteen students were tasked with the assignment of designing a heart box for the Pot of Gold assortment. Split into four teams, more than 40 heart boxes were created and four were selected for retail and will be available beginning in January 2013. Cullen served as one of three judges to select the winning package designs, as well as assisted in choosing the inaugural winners of the Hershey Design Excellence Award.

Each year, the Academy of Art University hosts a semi-annual student showcase in the winter and spring to feature work from the university’s students. This year, Cullen and Sharnell Weathersby, associate brand manager of Valentine’s Season for The Hershey Company, attended the annual spring show to be on hand to present the inaugural Hershey Design Excellence Award. The award recognizes an undergraduate and graduate student who has excelled in the area of package design. In addition to recognition, each winner receives $1,000.

This year, the Bachelors in Fine Arts recipient was Elliot Tran from San Francisco, Calif., while the Masters in Arts recipient was Astra Sondarsono from Indonesia. The remaining donation from The Hershey Company will be awarded in each category at both the university’s winter and spring shows for the next several years.

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