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Nine States, Wealth of Retail

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Not all of the nine states defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as making up the Northeast—Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont—are as evidently opportunity-rich as the big retail states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. But even the smaller states have their big moments.

In Vermont, for instance, while there are no lifestyle centers (see story on page 138), there are vibrant downtown areas, albeit mostly small. And there are population pockets that present their own retail draws for the surrounding communities. Then there’s Rhode Island, which, despite its small stature, seems to incite big interest from the nation’s big-box retailers.

In the uber-historic states of Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire (see story on page 134), developers are also finding opportunity. Lifestyle centers abound, in spite of frigid winter temps, and developments of all kinds—particularly those that are tenant-driven—are finding success.

No surprise that the Northeastern big boys—Pennsylvania and New York—are hosting significant retail development and redevelopment activities. Pennsylvania (see story on page 126) tells an especially interesting retail story because, in essence, it is two states in one. The Philadelphia part of the state—the East—is more in character with its Northeastern surrounds. But the western half? Decidedly Midwestern, and its retail is often reflective of that less-cosmopolitan personality.

There are numerous ways to slice and dice when you’re dividing a Northeastern pie into nine pieces. In this special real estate supplement to Chain Store Age— the Northeastern Market Profile—we have divvied up the feature coverage into three groups of three states, and provided you with a market capsule on each state. And, as is customary in these regular real estate supplements, we feature a plethora of project profiles (starting on page 142) that serve to sum up development successes throughout the Northeastern corridor.

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CompUSA may get a new look

BY CSA STAFF

ADDISON, Tx. After opening a new format store last month, CompUSA may be changing the format of its other stores, depending on customer demand and product interest.

According to reports, the elements found in the prototype store, located in Texas, will be incorporated into other CompUSA locations across the United States.

The nearly 7,700 square-ft. relocation site includes an Apple shop featuring Mac computers, iPods and Apple accessories, and a full-length LCD TV wall.

Additional expansions include extended gaming, which includes an entire wall devoted to the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 gaming platforms, plus a PC gaming setup to test equipment and play new titles.

While businesses can get their share of support with a specialized services section, all consumers can visit the store’s redesigned IT support area.

“This new store aligns CompUSA’s vision to better serve its three core customers, the technology enthusiast, educated professional and small and medium businesses,” said Gabriela Villalobos, the retailer’s sales and operations evp.

CompUSA announced in April that it would narrow its focus to three core customer groups rather than try to serve a mass audience.

The move was part of a comprehensive restructuring, initiated last February, that included an overhaul of senior management and the closure of half its store base as the privately held chain looked to improve sales and profitability.

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Walgreens withdraws from CVS provider plans

BY CSA STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. After many months of talks over low and below-market payment rates by CVS Caremark for four prescription plans, Walgreens has withdrawn as a pharmacy provider from the plans.

Patients affected include members of prescription benefit plans managed by CVS Caremark for ArcelorMittal, Johnson Controls, Progressive Casualty Insurance and Wisconsin Education Association Trust.

Most of the affected members live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Trent Taylor, president of Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, released the following statement:

“This is not where we wanted negotiations to lead,” he said. “We’re sorry that our pharmacy patients and CVS Caremark’s clients are caught in the middle, and we’ll do all we can to ensure a smooth transition for our patients to another pharmacy. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work on resolving this issue with CVS Caremark.

“Leaving a benefits plan is an extraordinary step for us, but it demonstrates how extraordinarily low our payments were from CVS Caremark. We can’t continue accepting reimbursement rates that are drastically below market, while offering patients needed special services such as 24-hour pharmacy access and drive-thru pharmacies.”

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