REAL ESTATE

OfficeMax to open smaller format

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — OfficeMax has become the latest retailer with a smaller-store, urban format either open or in the wings.

The retailer will unveil its smaller concept sometime in 2013, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The new format will range between 5,000 sq. ft. and 15,000 sq. ft., the report said.

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REAL ESTATE

Starbucks makes Vietnam debut; sees potential there for ‘hundreds’ of cafes

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Starbucks Coffee Co. on Friday opened its first location in Vietnam, following an expanded long-term relationship with Hong Kong Maxim’s Group.

The two-level flagship store has been designed to reflect Starbucks’ signature coffee heritage, while embracing Vietnam’s distinctive local traditions and coffee culture. It is located the bustling neighborhood of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1.

“The market presents tremendous opportunity for Starbucks over the long term,” said John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific. “Ho Chi Minh City is our first stop and we aim to open our stores in key metropolitan cities across Vietnam, including Hanoi, in the future.”

The chain told Bloomberg that it plans to add hundreds of stores in the Asian nation in the long term.

The design of Starbucks’ Vietnam flagship reflects the vibrance of cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City and still retains the city’s pride for its distinct local heritage. The store features numerous décor items that have been sourced locally, repurposed and given a new life in the first Starbucks store, including the distinctive Starbucks community table, whose teakwood surface was recycled from a local villa, and an old ‘ba gac’ (bicycle), which was traditionally used to transport goods around the city in the past, now stands as a central piece of artwork on the ground floor of the store. The store also showcases wall mural designs created by local artists.

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Australia’s Lorna Jane expanding in the U.S.

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Australian import Lorna Jane will open the largest store in its U.S. portfolio, a 3,000-sq.-ft. unit in San Francisco, in February.

The retailer, which specializes in fashionable yoga clothing, opened 10 stores in Southern California in 2012, and is now expanding into the Bay Area. Lorna Jane is also looking at locations in Corte Madera, San Jose, Palo Alto and Walnut Creek, as it looks to open 15 more stores by the end of this year, the report said.

Valued slightly over $13 billion and growing nationwide, the market for yoga clothing and other activewear is the fastest growing segment of the apparel industry.

Lorna Jane operates more than 135 stores worldwide.

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