STORE SPACES

Olive Garden to remodel more than half its locations

BY CSA STAFF

Orlando, Fla. — Olive Garden plans to remodel or refresh more than half of its 700 plus restaurants across the United States to its new Tuscan farmhouse-inspired design.

Called “Via Tuscany,” the updated décor includes new tables, chairs and booths, a palette of warm, rustic tones and design elements of a farmhouse in Tuscany. Other updates include new window treatments.

Outside updates include new front doors surrounded by Tuscan stones and a brick arch, freshly painted exterior walls and newly planted Cypress trees to refresh the landscaping.

The Tuscan-inspired design will be the template for all new Olive Garden units.

“We believe the Farmhouse design reinforces our vision by creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that enhances the genuine Italian experience at Olive Garden,” said Dan Kiernan, executive VP operations for Olive Garden. “Within the next few years guests will enjoy the same Tuscan-inspired look and feel inside every one of our family of local restaurants across North America.”

Olive Garden is part of Darden Restaurants, the world’s largest company-owned and operated full-service restaurant company.

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STORE SPACES

Report ranks 50 most valuable U.S. retail brands

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Walmart, Target, The Home Depot, Best Buy and CVS took top honors in Interbrand’s annual ranking of the 50 most valuable U.S. retail brands. The U.S. brands are valued in collaboration with Interbrand Design Forum, the retail experience group within Interbrand.

Walgreens, Sam’s Club, Coach, Amazon.com, and Dell, rounded out the Top 10. Newcomers to this year’s rankings included Publix, Ross Dress for Less, Toys “R” Us, Dollar Tree, Anthropologie, and Michael’s. Companies that fell off the list included Buckle, Abercrombie & Fitch, J.C. Penney, Rent A Center and Advance Auto Parts.

The U.S. brands study is part of Interbrand’s 2011 Best Retail Brands report, which ranks the top retail brands from the United States, Asia Pacific, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain. In the United States, the study notes that brand-led companies have proved resilient, responding rapidly to the downturn while taking advantage of its opportunities.

“In the past year, the best performing brands demonstrated their ability to understand customers, and have found innovative ways to strengthen the relationship with their core customers,” said Bruce Dybvad, CEO, Interbrand Design Forum.

The report identifies three emerging trends for 2011:

  • Customer’s demand for a more seamless retail experience.
  • The need for human touch in all interactions.
  • An increasingly interrelated global retail market.

Click here to read the full study.

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Wenger Takes Top Honor in A.R.E Design Contest

BY CSA STAFF

Las Vegas — Boulder, Colo.-based Wenger took top honors as Store of the Year in the Association for Retail Environments’ (A.R.E.) annual retail design competition. It’s the first U.S. retail outpost for the company, which is best known as the maker of the Swiss Army Knife.

Designed by Gensler, the 3,000-sq.-ft. store features Wenger’s full product line, including knives, watches, footwear and outdoor gear. Designers connected the outdoor adventure-loving Boulder community to the brand through materials and graphics. A 15-ft.-by-9-ft. woven wall sculpture of hand-cut logs of pine wrapped in twine is featured at the rear of the space. A hand-painted wall mural based on vintage Swiss travel posters provides a colorful visual focus that directs customers to the back of the store while also referencing the rich history of the legendary brand.

To see more Wenger photos, click here.

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