REAL ESTATE

OfficeMax to make Chicago debut with new concept store

BY Dan Berthiaume

Naperville, Ill. – OfficeMax has signed a lease agreement to open the first of its business solutions center concept stores in Chicago. The 3,900-sq.-ft. store, located in a currently unoccupied space at 550 St. Clair Street in the Streeterville neighborhood, will open later this summer and cater to the needs of business customers.

Special services for business customers will include enhanced technology support, marketing, document and shipping services, and expert associates.

"We’re delighted to finalize these plans for bringing our highly innovative ‘store of the future’ concept to our hometown of Chicago, to partner with local businesses and help them grow," said Ravi Saligram, president and CEO of OfficeMax. "Through this differentiated, multi-channel model, a specialized business solutions adviser will reside in-store, working alongside business customers to help them take their enterprises to the next level with robust services and solutions tailored to meet their individual business needs."

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News

WMT Canada gets kids in holiday spirit with toy-testing event

BY CSA STAFF

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — For the second year in a row, Walmart Canada is holding its Great Big Toy Testing Event, which not only gets parents and their children into stores, but also showcases toys for the 2013 holiday season in a real-world holiday wish list catalog setting.

Last summer, more than 300 parents and 550 kids took on the role of toy testers and gave their input on which toys should be on the 2012 holiday season list. The "Toy Lab" experience takes place July 20 at an undisclosed location just outside the GTA. Toy testers will be reviewing more than 120 toys to see which make the cut for the 2013 holiday season — many of which, according to the retailer, are not even available to the public yet.

The added bonus of having parents and children review toys and help curate a holiday wish list is that it entices children to start adding to their own wish lists, which means mom and dad will very likely be back in Walmart Canada stores to make purchases.

"Walmart understands that shopping for the right toy for children during the holidays can be stressful, we also know that it can be difficult to find toys that kids love and parents approve of," said Jeff Tate, director of category marketing at Walmart Canada. "Listening to what the customer wants is invaluable to us, so an event that involves both kids’ and parents’ feedback is just the type of two way conversation that we love to have with our customers to help to give them what they are looking for."

To participate, parents can register their toy-testing children online, and Walmart will then select toy testers at random from the list of registrants.

"This exclusive event creates the ultimate playroom where kids can try out the new toys for the season freely and most importantly where they can have fun doing it," said Cheri Anthony, senior director of toys at Walmart Canada. "Their reactions, alongside their parents’ feedback, are important in determining which products will make our top toy list for the holidays and to ensure we are carrying the toys kids want on our shelves."

The toys will be evaluated based on a number of criteria, including educational value, age appropriateness, ease of use, how the child reacts to the toy and whether parents like it.

Walmart Canada operates a growing chain of 380 locations nationwide serving more than 1 million customers each day, as well as its flagship online store, which is visited by more than 250,000 Canadians daily.

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FINANCE

Rue21 ‘go-shop’ period expires without bid

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Warrendale, Pa. — Rue21 Inc. said Wednesday that the “go-shop” period that would have allowed it to be sold to an alternate buyer has expired, edging the specialty apparel and accessories chain closer to a deal with Apax Partners.

In May, Rue21 reached a deal to sell itself to Apax for nearly $1 billion; terms allowed the retailer to shop competing bids until July 2. Although 60 potential buyers were contacted, none submitted a competing bid to acquire the company.

Rue21 also said Wednesday that the Federal Trade Commission granted early termination to the deal’s anti-trust waiting period, allowing it to go forward.

If approved by shareholders, the deal with Apax is expected to close by the end of 2013.

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